The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday uncovered the largest-ever Hamas attack tunnel in the northern Gaza Strip, close to the Erez border crossing with Israel.
The tunnel, of which around four kilometers (2.5 miles) goes down some 50 meters (165 feet) underground in some areas and appears to be wide enough for vehicles to pass through.
It did not enter Israeli territory, the army said in a statement.
It cost millions of dollars and took years to construct, Israeli forces said, with the project led by Mohamed Yahya, brother of Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar, who is believed to have orchestrated the vicious October 7 attacks that killed over 1,200 Isreali citizens.
The honeycomb of passageways features drainage systems, electricity, ventilation, sewage and a communication network as well as rails.
The floor is compacted earth while its walls are reinforced concrete and its entrance is a metal cylinder with 1.5 centimetres (half-inch) thick walls.
Footage released by the Israeli army, which it said was filmed by Hamas, showed a small construction vehicle being driven into the tunnel, an extensive temporary warehouse filled with pre-cast concrete for lining the walls and workers digging beneath the earth using crude power tools.
Also, the Israeli army said it had found a large number of weapons stored in the tunnel, ready to be used in an attack.
Last month, the Israeli military uncovered a tunnel shaft on the grounds of the Al-Shifa hospital complex, the enclave’s largest medical facility. Its discovery has been central to the IDF’s argument that there may be a network of tunnels below the hospital.
The hospital, Gaza’s largest, was raided by Israeli forces last month, who accuse Hamas of running a command center beneath it. Hamas and hospital officials say it has only been used to treat patients.