Testimony Num : 180

We entered the mosque and immediately identified a tunnel

At the entrance to one of the neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip, right at the first intersection, there was a very large mosque that we had intelligence regarding a tunnel that was inside the mosque. We entered the mosque, went down the cellar and immediately identified the tunnel. It was a small room with a tunnel inside it and another small tunnel shaft beside it that went into the wall. We also found there Hamas speckled military uniforms. We understood that it was a main junction of tunnels. There was a smaller tunnel that connected the houses of the neighborhood and another well-organized tunnel with concrete and a ladder that went down, apparently very deep. In retrospect, we found out that the tunnel crossed into Israel.

We identified the tunnel and waited for the designated special force to investigate it and see where it goes. During that time there was still combat activity taking place in the houses around us, and we were trying to identify to where the tunnel actually connects while maintaining readiness for anything coming out of it. Part of the team was in the room where the shafts were and the other part was upstairs, on the second floor securing the area. Simultaneously, the rest of the unit was flanking and clearing the houses in the direction of the tunnel in search for terrorists. During the scan, they identify all kinds of weapons but did not encounter terrorists. At some point, five terrorists started running towards the mosque. We recognize them from about 20 meters away and the machine gunner opened fire taking four of them down. The fifth terrorist manages to enter the mosque and started going down the staircase into the basement in order to escape into the tunnel. We identified the fifth terrorist and shoot him down. He actually reached right up to us, into the basement where the tunnel was.

Apparently the terrorist did not know we were inside and their goal was to escape into the mosque which is the main junction of the tunnels. The terrorists use the mosque as a base for tunnels and escape to it, with the belief that weS will not be there. But we were ready for them and managed to take them out.