A window into Gaza's elaborate tunnel complex

Published February 15th, 2016 - 07:37 GMT

In the past few weeks, five tunnel collapses in the Gaza Strip have killed 11 Hamas fighters. Hamas leaders are boasting that the group is working overtime on efforts to penetrate the Israeli border, apparently to stage a kidnapping or a mass-casualty attack on Israel.  

Yet Hamas’s vast underground transport network is used for more than just attacking Israel. Here are a few key facts about the territory's subterranean world. 

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hamas fighters smoking in tunnel

There are said to be hundreds--possibly thousands--of tunnels beneath the Gaza Strip. The exact number isn’t known, but some statistics give an inkling of how large the network is. For example, in March 2014, Egypt claimed to have destroyed 1,370 smuggling tunnels beneath its short border with Gaza.

gaza tunnel kfc smuggled

Gaza’s tunnels have been around for 30 years. Residents use them to import everything from concrete and cars to KFC.

smuggling a cow into gaza

The tunnels are also used to import livestock from Egypt.

hamas gaza tunnel

Some of Gaza's tunnels are 100 feet underground, and some are equipped with secret hideouts where fighters can live for a week or longer.

hamas tunnel gaza phone

The tunnels have communications equipment for easy coordination. Some tunnels are reportedly air-conditioned and even have cell phone reception.

gaza strip tunnels

Gaza residents use the tunnels to get medical treatment in Egypt, or sometimes even just to go out for a night on the town.

gaza tunnels hamas underground

Hamas created an entire government agency devoted specifically to regulating commerce from smuggling operations, which are said to earn Hamas $700 million in revenue during a good year.

hamas soldiers tunnel israel

Of course, the tunnels also have military purposes. They protect weapons caches and high-profile commanders from Israeli airstrikes. They also allow Hamas to conduct attacks and kidnappings in Israel: in summer 2014, Hamas used the tunnels to stage three separate attacks on Israeli soldiers, killing 11.

israeli soldier gaza tunnel

Though Israel has spent over $250 million since 2004 trying to detect and destroy the cross-border tunnels, the supposedly high-tech nation still has not developed a means with which to do so.

hamas fighters smoking in tunnel
gaza tunnel kfc smuggled
smuggling a cow into gaza
hamas gaza tunnel
hamas tunnel gaza phone
gaza strip tunnels
gaza tunnels hamas underground
hamas soldiers tunnel israel
israeli soldier gaza tunnel
hamas fighters smoking in tunnel
There are said to be hundreds--possibly thousands--of tunnels beneath the Gaza Strip. The exact number isn’t known, but some statistics give an inkling of how large the network is. For example, in March 2014, Egypt claimed to have destroyed 1,370 smuggling tunnels beneath its short border with Gaza.
gaza tunnel kfc smuggled
Gaza’s tunnels have been around for 30 years. Residents use them to import everything from concrete and cars to KFC.
smuggling a cow into gaza
The tunnels are also used to import livestock from Egypt.
hamas gaza tunnel
Some of Gaza's tunnels are 100 feet underground, and some are equipped with secret hideouts where fighters can live for a week or longer.
hamas tunnel gaza phone
The tunnels have communications equipment for easy coordination. Some tunnels are reportedly air-conditioned and even have cell phone reception.
gaza strip tunnels
Gaza residents use the tunnels to get medical treatment in Egypt, or sometimes even just to go out for a night on the town.
gaza tunnels hamas underground
Hamas created an entire government agency devoted specifically to regulating commerce from smuggling operations, which are said to earn Hamas $700 million in revenue during a good year.
hamas soldiers tunnel israel
Of course, the tunnels also have military purposes. They protect weapons caches and high-profile commanders from Israeli airstrikes. They also allow Hamas to conduct attacks and kidnappings in Israel: in summer 2014, Hamas used the tunnels to stage three separate attacks on Israeli soldiers, killing 11.
israeli soldier gaza tunnel
Though Israel has spent over $250 million since 2004 trying to detect and destroy the cross-border tunnels, the supposedly high-tech nation still has not developed a means with which to do so.