IDF foils major Hamas tunnel terrorist attack inside Israel. IDF ground operation widely predicted

Thursday, July 17, 2014
By Paul Martin

DEBKA.com
July 17, 2014

Hamas tried sending a commando team through a tunnel snaking under the Gaza border for a large-scale terrorist attack or kidnap early Thursday, July 17. As the group of 13-30 started coming to the surface inside Israel opposite the southern Gaza Strip, it ran into heavy IDF fire. Some were killed; the rest turned tail to escape through the tunnel and reach home. Israeli helicopters bombed the tunnel which exploded, and went on to scour the area around the Gaza Strip for more attempted incursions, through the honeycomb of secret tunnels Hamas has sunk for terrorist attacks and kidnaps.
debkafile quotes Israeli and Western military experts as estimating that the prospects of an Israeli ground incursion into the Gaza Strip are now more real than the chances of a ceasefire. There is little substance to the reports that Hamas and Israeli delegations are in Cairo to discuss various drafts of a ceasefire accord.

Our sources stress that the only real talks revolve around an ultimatum Israel has slapped down for Hamas, via the various would-be peacemakers: It has only days to halt its rocket offensive before Israel launches a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

The question being asked now is why, after 10 days of trading Israeli air strikes for Palestinian rocket attacks, the IDF has not destroyed the Hamas war room, the seat of its command and control center for directing the war and launching rockets, instead of striking the vacant homes of Hamas high-ups.
In the absence of a clear battlefield victory, headlines are appearing like this one: “Hamas Has Already Won Its Rocket War With Israel.”
Even IDF commanders are noting that the IDF, while hammering the Gaza Strip night after night, has not achieved a single tactical victory. Destroying the Hamas war room would serve this purpose.

debkafile’s military and intelligence sources note that finding and destroying underground structures is a daunting challenge, which is why Hamas has sunk its resources for fighting Israel deep below the surface. The war room in particular is a whole town complex, which runs under the surface buildings at the center of Gaza City, including the Shifa Hospital. This labyrinth accommodates top Hamas military personnel, the local social elite made up of Hamas bigwigs, affluent Gazans, foreign citizens and professionals like doctors or engineers.

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