IDF reveals Hamas' longest terror tunnelIDF

Until October 6th, the Erez Humanitarian Crossing, operated by COGAT’s Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) for Gaza, served as a symbol of hope and coexistence. Thousands of Palestinian Arabs would cross into Israel for work and medical treatment.

Recently, the IDF exposed Hamas subterranean tunnel system, which includes attack tunnels built in the immediate vicinity of the Erez crossing. This massive tunnel system splits into branches of tunnels and spans well over four kilometers (2.5 miles), reaching only 400 meters (1,310 feet) from the Erez crossing. This subterranean tunnel system was a project led by Muhammad Sinwar, the brother of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.

To date, the IDF has exposed hundreds of terror tunnel shafts throughout the Gaza Strip. Many are built from reinforced concrete and are equipped with electricity, ventilation, sewage, communication networks and rails, like the one the IDF is currently exposing. Over the past 70 days, the IDF has exposed multiple locations where these tunnels were built under hospitals, schools, kindergartens, and other sensitive sites. The IDF continues to use advanced operational, intelligence and technological means to eliminate Hamas’ network of terror tunnels across the Gaza Strip.

The ground forces, using operational field intelligence, have provided much information about Hamas' terror tunnels project, and have helped to advance both the IDF's knowledge and its maps of the tunnels. From the beginning of the war and up to now, the IDF has been operating to locate and destroy dozens of attack tunnel routes, as part of the systematic dismantling of Hamas infrastructure.

“Hamas has persistently and deliberately invested enormous amounts of money and resources into terrorist tunnels that serve only one purpose - attacking the State of Israel and its residents. This strategic attack tunnel network, large enough to drive vehicles through, was spearheaded by Muhammad Sinwar and intentionally dug near a crossing dedicated to the movement of Gazans into Israel for work and medical care,” said Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, the IDF International Spokesperson. “For Hamas, attacking the people of Israel continues to take priority over supporting the people of Gaza.”

Erez Crossing:

The Erez Crossing is operated by the Ministry of Defense and is the primary pedestrian crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) in COGAT, the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories, operates from near the crossing, coordinating all of the humanitarian and civilian activities between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The crossing served as a key point for Gazans to enter Israel for both labor and humanitarian purposes. In 2022, over 800,000 Gazans crossed via Erez Crossing; in the first half of 2023, 550,000 did, putting the crossing on track to facilitate over one million crossings this year. The crossing also supported passage of some 18,500 Gazan workers with Israeli work permits, where the average salary is six times higher than in Gaza. These workers made a significant contribution to the prosperity and growth of the Gazan economy. Furthermore, over 7,000 Gazans entered Israel via Erez to receive medical treatment in 2022 and another 5,000 received permits in the first half of 2023.

A Focal Point of Hamas' October 7th Invasion:

On October 7th, the very crossing dedicated to the movement of people between Gaza and Israel was attacked by Hamas. During Hamas’ invasion of southern Israel, terrorists rampaged the crossing and killed and abducted IDF soldiers who were on duty there. On Friday (15/12/2023), the bodies of two IDF soldiers - CPL Nik Beizer and SGT Ron Sherman - who had been abducted from the Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) for Gaza base on October 7th, were recovered and returned to Israel in an IDF operation in the heart of Gaza.