Written by Ronen Zvulun
BURIJ, Gaza (Reuters) – Israeli forces found what they said was the largest weapons production site yet discovered in Gaza, including underground workshops they said were used to produce long-range missiles capable of hitting targets in northern Israel.
The army said that in addition to the missiles, the workshops produced copies or modifications of standard munitions such as mortar shells and were linked through underground columns to a network of tunnels used to transport weapons to combat units throughout the Gaza Strip.
On Monday, the Israeli army took a group of journalists to visit the site in the Bureij area in the middle of the narrow coastal enclave, which was devastated by weeks of bombing and ground fighting.
An assortment of tubes, metal components and shell casings were stacked in an above-ground workshop area, while in another area, long metal racks could be seen holding missiles, with an elevator leading down into the tunnel.
“…From the elevator, the missiles are contained in a safe place and then descend to other areas within the tunnel system,” said Chief Military Spokesman Admiral Daniel Hagary.
He said: “In one place you make missiles, and in another place you launch them.”
The site was the latest in a series of vast tunnel facilities seized by the military since the Gaza invasion, which was launched in the wake of the October 7 attack on southern Israel by Hamas.
Israeli officials say that Hamas deliberately locates military infrastructure, including tunnels, in civilian areas in order to make it more difficult to attack. Hamas denies this and says that Israel attacks civilian targets indiscriminately.
More than 22,000 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli operation, according to Palestinian health officials, and most of the 2.3 million residents were forced to flee their homes to a small area in the south.
The largest Israeli operation ever in Gaza was launched following the attack carried out by Hamas militants on October 7, which led to the killing of more than 1,200 people in southern Israel and the holding of about 240 hostage, according to Israeli statistics.
(Writing by James McKenzie, Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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