Speed Reads

Israel and Palestine

Here's everything you need to know about the Hamas tunnels into Israel, in 2 minutes

Israel's two-week-old air and ground offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip is getting some tough condemnation for its lopsided death toll — at least 630 Palestinians, many of them children and other civilians, and 31 Israelis, including two civilians, as of Wednesday morning. (Israel is accusing Hamas of using civilians as "human shields"; experts aren't sure.)

Israel argues that it had no choice but to send in ground troops last Thursday, because there is no other way to destroy the network of tunnels Hamas has set up to transport arms and people into Israel, and at least in one infamous instance, spirit an Israeli solider back to Gaza. Israel says it has uncovered 23 tunnels since invading Gaza a week ago, with a total of 66 entrance points.

Since these tunnels are so central to the current conflict, The New York Times put together a short video showing what some of the tunnels look like, and explaining why Hamas built them, what Israel is doing to destroy them, and the challenges the Israelis will face in trying to achieve that goal. Take the two minutes to watch it below. --Peter Weber