Hamas helped hatch its Oct. 7 massacre on Israel under a cemetery in southern Gaza, according to Israel forces who recently took out the elaborate tunnel shaft.
Footage released by the Israeli military Monday shows a tunnel system more than half-a-mile long and 65 feet deep that ran across the cemetery in the Bani Suheila neighborhood of Khan Younis.
The tunnels led to several wide rooms, including a kitchen space complete with a spice rack and working electricity and plumbing.
There were also several bathrooms and bedrooms located in the tunnel system, as well as what appeared to be a meeting room.
The base was where the leaders of Hamas’ eastern battalion allegedly directed their forces during the October terrorist attack that killed more than 1,200 people in Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said.
The IDF also claimed the base was where Hamas managed its forces during Operation Guard of the Walls, an 11-day conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in 2021.
The tunnels were active when the IDF arrived at Bani Suheila, with Israeli soldiers fighting and killing Hamas gunmen who were hidden behind boobytrapped doors to the underground labyrinth, Israeli Brig. Gen. Dan Goldfus told reporters over the weekend.
The cemetery and a nearby mosque were subsequently destroyed, leaving a 459-foot crater in their wake. A satellite analysis suggested that the the cemetery destroyed was the Shuhadaa Bani Suheila graveyard.
Despite the video and tour given by the IDF, reporters were unable to independently verify the claims of what exactly was in the tunnel that ran across the cemetery. Reporters were only shown entrances leading to the tunnel.
Goldfus told CNN reporters that the structure was “not secure,” with the American outlet noting that neither entrances shown to journalists appeared to be located in the cemetery grounds.
When pressed by AP and CNN reporters on what occurred to the bodies buried at the cemetery, Goldfus said the IDF faced challenges relocating the corpses while fighting Hamas at the same time.
“We try to move them aside as much as possible,” he said of the excavated bodies. “But remember, when we are fighting in this place, and your enemy is flanking you again and again and again and using these compounds to hide in, there’s not much you can do.”
The IDF has faced criticisms over digging up corpses in Gaza after a CNN investigation earlier this month documenting the Israeli military’s conduct at gravesites.
UNESCO has previously called for Hamas and Israel to avoid attacking culturally important sites, with the destruction of cemeteries and mosques considered a war crime under the Rome Statute, according to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Israel argued that those protections are void when the sites are used for military purposes, with the IDF defending its actions as a necessity to dismantle Hamas terrorist network and locate the more than 130 hostages being held in Gaza.
With Post wires
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