Journalists and cameramen, accustomed to forming boisterous circles around interviewees in press conferences, were forced to walk in a single file as we descended down Hamas’s most formidable terrorism tunnel discovered by the IDF to date.
Within seconds, the light of day shrank into a ball of light behind us, before vanishing altogether. Flashlights and camera lights broke through darkness to reveal a carefully constructed tunnel, made up of a layer of concrete slabs placed over the dirt. The slabs fitted one another like pieces of a puzzle.
“You can see what machine they used to cut out the blocks,” a security source walking in front of me said, touching tiny fine lines on the edges of the concrete.
“We’re now 20 meters underground,” he added.
Although I had outgrown my claustrophobia years ago, the tunnel was so tall that we were able to walk down it comfortably upright, and even my former claustrophobic self might have passed through without suffering much.
“It’s the tallest tunnel we’ve ever found,” the army source stated.
Cables carrying electricity and phone lines stretched down the walls, and occasionally, the security source in front of me would peel off food wrappings and olive pits left in the walls by the tunnel’s skilled builders.
“This is a working area,” he said, gesturing with his flashlight to a cavity in the tunnel. “And here, it splits into two. If we go straight, we’ll end up in Gaza soon,” he said, taking the left turn instead, to my relief (the IDF sealed the Gazan part of the tunnel beforehand).
“This branch of the tunnel heads toward an army border post. They probably planned on attacking it,” the source added.
Five hundred tons of concrete went into building this beast, which, had it it been utilized in a terror attack, would have definitely prompted a wide-scale IDF response and probably sparked a war.
The air was dusty, but surprisingly easy to breath, and if needed, Hamas terrorists could pump oxygen into the tunnel from the Gazan entrance.
Walking through this product of the Gazan terrorist industry, I wondered how many other tunnels Hamas is digging at this time under the homes and farms of Gaza and southern Israel.