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Deep Under Gaza, Israel Shows Evidence Hostages Were Held in Tunnels

WorldDeep Under Gaza, Israel Shows Evidence Hostages Were Held in Tunnels

In a subterranean compound deep below Khan Younis, a Hamas stronghold in the southern Gaza Strip, the five cells with barred doors that the Israeli military says held hostages abducted from Israel had clearly been constructed long in advance.

The tunnel builders even paid some attention to décor: The tiled walls of a small kitchenette in the compound, littered with remnants of food and dirty dishes, were embellished with a quaint, if incongruous, motif of teapots and teacups.

The Israeli military said that roughly 20 hostages were kept in the compound at various times. It said it pieced that assessment together based on testimony it said it gathered from the captives, as well as evidence like DNA. Some were released among the more than 100 hostages freed during a weeklong truce in late November, while others, including older people, were later dispersed to other locations in Gaza, the military said.

There has been no independent confirmation of the Israeli account of the compound, but details provided to Israeli media by one of the hostages — who was freed in November and, Israel says, held in the Khan Younis compound — aligns with some of those assertions.

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