IDF Official: Shujaiyeh a 'Very Complex’ Battlefield

Israeli army official says 70 percent of known Hamas tunnels have been destroyed.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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A medic helps a Palestinian in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood, which was heavily shelled by Israel during fighting, in Gaza City July 20, 2014.
A medic helps a Palestinian in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood, which was heavily shelled by Israel during fighting, in Gaza City July 20, 2014.Credit: Reuters
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

A senior Israel Defense Forces official said Sunday night that Gaza City’s Shujaiyeh neighborhood was known to be a very complex, densely populated area and that the army expected to meet armed Palestinian opposition there as Golani Brigade soldiers entered.

According to IDF figures, 140 rockets have been fired at Israel from Shujaiyeh in the current round of hostilities, or less than 10 percent of the total.

Most of the 140 were aimed at Ashdod, which has suffered heavy barrages of rockets in the fighting. The IDF source said intelligence reports indicated that some of the tunnels dug by Hamas are accessible from Shujaiyeh.

IDF officials said Sunday that Israeli ground forces have significantly damaged the tunnels, especially ones those that lead into Israeli territory. Many tunnels have been destroyed, and it will take at least another day or two to destroy the remainder of the ones that have been located. According to the IDF source, about 70 percent of the tunnels that were known to Military Intelligence have been rendered unusable.

After the tunnels are dealt with, Israeli political and military leaders will need to decide how to proceed with the operation. The IDF continues to build up its forces around the Gaza Strip, and is considering drafting more reservists in addition to the 57,000 that have already been called up.

“I’m not hearing anything about ending the operation,” said the official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity. Chief of Staff Lt. Gen Benny Gantz said Sunday the army would “continue to do everything necessary to restore calm and security to Israeli citizens.”

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