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The squalid, underground cells where Hamas locked up child captives: IDF finds heartbreaking pictures drawn by Israeli girl inside booby-trapped tunnels where terrorists hid 20 hostages


Israeli Defence Forces have discovered a kilometre-long, booby-trapped tunnel where Hamas is said to have kept about 20 hostages.

At the end of the tunnel were cramped cells where the captives were held – five narrow rooms behind metal bars.

Toilets, mattresses and even drawings by a child hostage freed in November – Emilia Aloni – were found, military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said. 

‘After walking about a kilometre in the tunnel, at a depth of about 20 meters underground, the soldiers found a central chamber where, according to testimonies of hostages who returned from Gaza, we understand that they spent most of their time,’ he said. 

The military released photos from the underground labyrinth and said it brought in journalists to document the tunnel before it was destroyed in order to ‘show the world evidence that must not be forgotten’.

‘Hamas committed and continues to commit crimes against humanity, holding innocent people, children, women, men, some sick, very elderly people, in harsh and inhumane conditions,’ Mr Hagari said.

The tunnel entrance was reportedly discovered in the house of a Hamas member in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, where Israel has been focusing its fight in recent weeks. 

‘The soldiers entered the tunnel where they encountered terrorists, engaging in a battle that ended with the elimination of the terrorists,’ the spokesman said. 

Detritus was seen strewn over the floor of a tunnel used to house hostages

Detritus was seen strewn over the floor of a tunnel used to house hostages

Toilets, mattresses and even drawings by a child hostage freed in November were found

Toilets, mattresses and even drawings by a child hostage freed in November were found

The tunnel was dingy and dank with rubbish and debris spread about

The tunnel was dingy and dank with rubbish and debris spread about

Israeli Defence Forces have discovered a kilometre-long, booby-trapped tunnel where Hamas is said to have kept about 20 hostages

Israeli Defence Forces have discovered a kilometre-long, booby-trapped tunnel where Hamas is said to have kept about 20 hostages

The entrance to a tunnel is seen through a gate in the house of a Hamas militant

The entrance to a tunnel is seen through a gate in the house of a Hamas militant

The pictures recovered in the tunnels are said to have been drawn by Emilia Aloni, pictured here with her mother Danielle

The pictures recovered in the tunnels are said to have been drawn by Emilia Aloni, pictured here with her mother Danielle

‘According to the testimonies we have, about 20 hostages were held in this tunnel at different times under harsh conditions without daylight, in dense air with little oxygen, and terrible humidity that makes breathing difficult.

‘Some of them were released about 50 days ago, and some are still held in Gaza and may be under even harsher conditions, including very elderly people who need medication and help,’ Hagari added.

It comes as the Hamas-run health ministry claimed that more than 25,000 Palestinians have now been killed in Gaza since the start of the conflict.

America is pushing for more negotiations between Israel and Hamas after families of the hostages held in Gaza travelled to Washington with the Daily Mail to call for their release.

The US, Egypt and Qatar are pressuring both sides to thrash out terms and it is claimed Israel and Hamas are willing to engage in discussions in Cairo.

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday he spoke with Netanyahu about possible solutions for the creation of an independent Palestinian state, suggesting one path could involve a non-militarised government.

‘There are a number of types of two-state solutions,’ he said.

‘There’s a number of countries that are members of the UN that… don’t have their own militaries,’ Biden told reporters after an event at the White House. 

But senior Hamas official on Saturday dismissed Biden’s comments, labelling him complicit in the ‘genocide’ of Palestinians.

This comes after families of female hostages travelled to the US capital to push American politicians to work to free them.

They presented copies of a Daily Mail article about the hostages’ nightmare to key leaders, including Senate leader Chuck Schumer, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Democrat whip Katherine Clark. 

The interior of a Hamas tunnel is seen

The interior of a Hamas tunnel is seen

A dingy, stained wetroom is seen

A dingy, stained wetroom is seen

The tunnel entrance was in the house of a Hamas member in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis

The tunnel entrance was in the house of a Hamas member in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis

The military released photos from the underground labyrinth and said it brought in journalists to document the tunnel before it was destroyed

The military released photos from the underground labyrinth and said it brought in journalists to document the tunnel before it was destroyed

At the end of the tunnel were cramped cells where the captives were held ¿ five narrow rooms behind metal bars

At the end of the tunnel were cramped cells where the captives were held – five narrow rooms behind metal bars

Congresswoman Schakowsky told the Daily Mail, after accepting the framed clipping: ‘We absolutely cannot forget the 13 women – most of whom are teenage girls – that are still being held hostage. Time is of the essence.

‘I am doing everything in my power to make sure the priority remains getting all the hostages home safely.’

In a statement on Saturday, Netanyahu also pushed back against Biden’s remarks about Palestinian statehood after the war against Hamas in Gaza ends.

‘In his conversation with President Biden, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated his policy that after Hamas is destroyed Israel must retain security control over Gaza to ensure that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel, a requirement that contradicts the demand for Palestinian sovereignty,’ Netanyahu’s office said in a statement issued on Saturday. 

In the statement on Sunday, Netanyahu repeated that he would insist upon ‘full Israeli security control over all the territory west of Jordan.’

Netanyahu said he had firmly stood up to ‘international and internal pressures’ to change this position and would continue to do so.



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