23 Militants Rescued After Weeks in Collapsed Tunnel, Hamas Says

Members of Hamas military wing reportedly entered the tunnel at the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, and became trapped after an Israeli strike.

Entrance to tunnel connecting between Israel and Gaza, October 2013.Eliyahu Hershkovitz

23 fighters from Al-Qassam brigades, Hamas' military wing, were rescued from a tunnel that collapsed at the beginning of Israel's Operation Protective Edge, Hamas said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to Anadolu Agency, the militants entered the tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip, preparing to attack Israeli soldiers, when IDF missiles struck and collapsed the tunnel.

"Rescue teams dug the area to extract the mujahideen (fighters) and they were surprised to find us alive," W.A., a member of the Brigades, was quoted as saying.

On Monday, the IDF said it had demolished the last known Hamas tunnel. Overall, 32 tunnels were destroyed by the IDF during the operation.