As Israel and Hamas continue to remain embroiled in a violent confrontation, the former has pulled off a stunning deception with its surprise attack on Hamas’ underground network of tunnels in the Gaza Strip, which is popularly known as the “Metro”, a report published on The Jerusalem Post said.
While Hamas was girding itself for a ground invasion from the Israeli forces by sending its operatives inside the tunnel and planning a surprise attack on them, the anticipated ground offence never took place. Instead, Israel caught Hamas off-guard when it launched an aerial attack once the terrorists were out of the tunnel and exposed to Israeli aircraft.
Israel issued warning of a possible ground invasion
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict flared up once again this week after Hamas, an Islamic terror outfit controlling the Gaza Strip, launched hundreds of rockets into Israel. Later, Israel launched precision airstrikes into Gaza, killing several Hamas commanders and terrorists, in retaliation.
As hostilities between Israel and Palestine continued to escalate, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said that the attacks were far from over and they would only intensify with time.
Later on Thursday, Israel’s Defense Minister approved the mobilisation of 9,000 more reservist troops amid fighting with Hamas. Israel’s military spokesman said that forces are massing on the border with the Gaza Strip. After dusk on Thursday, armoured and infantry battalions joined the artillery batteries that had been deployed days earlier to attack Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets.
With the fight continuing, Israeli forces were preparing for a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Defence Forces hinted that ground offensive was very much on the table and considered as a viable option to stop the ongoing barrage of rockets streaking from the Gaza side.
The IDF had inflicted considerable damage to Hamas with its airstrikes. However, a ground invasion would have meant the death knell for the terror outfit that is struggling to keep its hold on the Gaza Strip.
At midnight, the IDF spokesperson’s English department tweeted that IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip. The reference to the ground offensive was quickly lapped up by the western media outlets, who foreboded that the conflict is all set to devolve into a major escalation.
Media across the globe started reporting that Israeli forces are preparing to invade the Gaza Strip. However, it was a part of a clever ruse, put up by the IDF, Israel’s Defence Minister and others involved in the operation.
Much-anticipated ground offence never took place, instead aerial attacks destroyed the Metro
Although the IDF had deployed forces along the border, they did not cross into Gaza. It was a cunning stratagem used by the IDF to box Hamas into a corner. With the media reports conjecturing a possible ground incursion, Hamas and Islamic Jihad sent its first line of defence to its underground network of tunnels to take a position against Israeli offence.
Hamas has meticulously built an underground network of tunnels called the “Metro” over the years after the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip. The network is a labyrinth of dozens of kilometres of tunnels that crisscrosses Gaza and provided safety from Israeli aerial incursions.
The terror organisation had essentially sent its anti-tank missile teams and mortar squads into the tunnel to strike at incoming Israeli ground forces. However, little did they know that they were tricked into entering the tunnel by the Israelis, who scrambled a fleet of 160 aircraft to bomb them.
Once the terrorists of Hamas were inside the tunnels, they were exposed to Israeli aircraft. Within minutes, the “Metro” attack ensued.
According to the Israel Defence Forces, in this air strike, which lasted nearly 40 minutes, around 450 missiles were dropped from 160 planes on 150 targets in northern Gaza, particularly around the city of Beit Lahiya.
As of now, it is unclear as to how many Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists have perished in the attack, and how much of the tunnels were damaged. However, IDF believes the number could be significant. IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman said on Friday morning that the military was still assessing the consequences of the operation.