On Thursday night, the IDF managed to produce a vague picture of the start of a ground operation. Infantry, artillery, and tanks were moved to the border fence area and at the same time, the IDF Spokesman released the message above to the Western media. With that, the IDF led Hamas to think that a ground operation was starting, which activated the terror organization’s protocol of bringing all its fighters underground, including Nuhba, the Hamas elite special force. They were all instructed to go down to the tunnels and get ready for battle.
Jewish Press (h/t Peter H) And then, for 35 straight minutes, 160 warplanes carpet-bombed the downtown Gaza underground with 450 bombs, the equivalent of more than 80 tons of TNT.
Clearly, the IDF succeeded in collapsing the array of tunnels with their occupants, and at this time both Israel and Hamas are evaluating the extent of the damage and the number of terrorists who were buried alive. The IDF believes the likely figure is in the hundreds.
Gaza City is surrounded by an infrastructure of defensive tunnels, miles upon miles of tunnels used by Hamas for underground combat, respite for its soldiers, hidden traffic arteries from one place to another, rocket launchings, and underground war rooms. In wartime, Hamas fighters stay underground and operate from there.
Following the overnight operation, a security official who spoke with N12 said: “Yesterday we carried out at least 20 targeted assassinations on senior officials, and killed hundreds of Hamas operatives. We destroyed most of Hamas’ rocket production line, paralyzed the array of tunnels, which was their strategic tool, and reached many other achievements that they have yet to comprehend.”
Still, the IDF believes that the fighting must continue, to the point where the Hamas readership comes up with the radical Islamist equivalent of crying uncle.