In a recent display for journalists, the Israeli military unveiled what it described as a complex of weapons manufacturing facilities and tunnels utilized by Hamas militants in Gaza for the production of rockets. The tour, led by soldiers in Bureij in the central Gaza Strip, highlighted what initially appeared to be cement factories and other industrial structures but were, in fact, used to create missiles and shells stored in deep shafts.
Inside a spacious hut, bathed in sunlight filtering through the gaps in the walls, army spokesman Daniel Hagari exhibited what he claimed were detonators for rockets with a striking range of 100 kilometers (62 miles), covering significant portions of central and southern Israel. Speaking at the site, Hagari disclosed that this facility had been erected along Salah Al-Din Road, a crucial north-south route used for transporting humanitarian aid into the besieged territory.
The military, in a subsequent statement, declared it as “the largest weapons production site found since the beginning of the war.” Some of the shafts reached depths of 30 meters (100 feet), forming a network of tunnels connecting to Hamas fighters across Gaza, according to the statement. Hagari informed the press that Israeli forces had successfully identified, disassembled, and were currently eliminating these facilities.
Bureij, located just south of Gaza City, once housed tens of thousands of residents before the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict in early October, as per data from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. However, the evident impact of violence was clear during the media tour, with the showcased areas appearing deserted and devoid of any Palestinians.
Describing the scene, Israeli bulldozers navigated through a devastated landscape, churning up dirt amidst badly damaged buildings as they worked to level the land and secure the area. Hagari revealed on Saturday that Israeli forces had eradicated the Hamas military infrastructure in northern Gaza, subsequently shifting their focus to central and southern regions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has underscored that the conflict cannot conclude until Hamas militants no longer pose a threat to the nation. Meanwhile, the United Nations has sounded the alarm, cautioning that the ongoing fighting risks rendering the territory uninhabitable.
The conflict erupted when Hamas fighters attacked southern Israel on October 7, resulting in approximately 1,140 deaths, predominantly civilians, based on an AFP tally relying on official Israeli figures.
The militants also took around 250 hostages, with 132 remaining in captivity, according to Israel. At least 25 hostages are believed to have been killed. Responding to these developments, Israel initiated a relentless bombardment and a ground invasion, resulting in a reported 23,084 casualties, predominantly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.