Hamas Chief Denies Israel Destroyed Tunnel Network, Says Next War Will ‘Reshape’ Mideast
Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar over the weekend said his terror group had only shown half its strength during the recent 11-day war with Israel, but still claimed to turn Tel Aviv “into a rag.”
Sinwar also denied the Israeli military’s claim a significant chunk of the Hamas’ enormous subterranean tunnel network was destroyed.
“We showed only half our strength. We managed to launch 130 rockets on Tel Aviv in one barrage and we only launched our old rockets in the last campaign,” Sinwar said. “We shook Tel Aviv — there are a lot of things hidden from the public.”
Sinwar also addressed the recent Trump administration-brokered normalization agreements signed between Israel and Arab countries. “Arab leaders made Tel Aviv the direction of their prayers. We turned it into a rag,” he said.
More than 4,000 terror rockets were launched at Israel from the Hamas-ruling Gaza Strip over a week and a half although most of them were directed at southern Israeli towns. The lion’s share of rockets targeting Tel Aviv and the surrounding areas were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, more than 230 Palestinians were killed in retaliatory strikes by the IDF against terror targets, 59 of them children.
Israel says more than 150 of those killed were terrorists from Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups. Many, including children, were also killed by errant Hamas rockets. At least 450 rockets were misfired and landed within Gaza itself.
Thirteen people in Israel, including a five-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, were killed by rockets, and hundreds more were injured.
Sinwar also said it was Hamas’ duty to “defend” Jerusalem and that the next round of fighting would “reshape” the region.
“Every Palestinian will defend us remaining in Jerusalem and in Sheikh Jarrah,” Sinwar said. “If the conflict breaks out again — the shape of the Middle East will change. We have proven that there are those who defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Gaza has spent $175 million on terror rockets in a week but has no money for vaccines or education. Let that sink in for a moment. https://t.co/lIcKnWJMkD
Last week, the terror leader warned that the rocket attacks would resume if Israel “violates” the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
According to Sinwar, “not even 3 percent” of Hamas’ tunnel network was destroyed.
The comments, cited by the Times of Israel, came a day after the Al-Jazeera network broadcast footage filmed in the tunnels in what the report said was an apparent bid by Hamas to refute Israel’s claim that it had severely damaged the network.
In the footage, a Hamas operative tells the Qatari network damage to the tunnels have already been repaired.
Al-Jazeera said the footage was filmed after the end of the most recent round of fighting between Israel and the Gaza terror groups.
The footage showed ammunition stores and a command and control room.
The claims contradict those made by the Israel Defense Forces which said it had destroyed more than 60 miles of the tunnel network, amounting to around a third of it.
The IDF destroyed the tunnels by leaking false reports that a ground invasion was imminent, leading dozens of terror operatives to seek refuge in the tunnels who were subsequently killed in airstrikes.
The tunnels run under both hospitals and schools, aligning with Hamas’ policy of using civilians as human shields. The UN Palestinian refugee agency over the weekend condemned “the existence and potential use by Palestinian armed groups of such tunnels underneath its schools in the strongest possible terms.”