The tunnel was enormous: It ran 1.5 miles, 66 feet below the ground. Authorities estimated that some 350 tons of concrete were used to build it, enough to build a small hospital three floors high, Yakubovich said. “We were amazed by the size of it.”
Hamas went to extraordinary lengths to hide construction of the tunnels from Israeli intelligence and military forces. In a scene straight out of the classic film The Great Escape, fighters emptied bags of flour — humanitarian food aid from the United Nations — and then used them to remove dirt from tunnel construction sites, Yakubovich said. Whenever Israeli air forces saw the bags on the surface, they assumed they were food deliveries, not evidence of Hamas secretly building an underground infrastructure.