Reporter's Notebook: Into the heart of the Gaza war with the IDF

As part of a small group of journalists, Fox News embedded with the Israeli military in Gaza. I joined the IDF in Khan Younis, a current focal point of the Israeli operation.

Loading into vehicles, soldiers pull on gaiters and goggles to protect themselves on the dusty drive ahead.

Within a quarter of a mile into Gaza, troops stop to show the press the latest tunnel destroyed the night before. The ground’s been excavated. Wires are exposed. The IDF doesn’t elaborate on how it blew up this specific tunnel.

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Fox News' Alex Hogan on ground with Israeli military member, found Hamas hideout

Fox News’ Alex Hogan with an Israeli soldier on the ground, next to a tunnel used by Hamas as a hideout. (Fox News)

Climbing down into the crater, soldiers show the soft texture of the soil. This tunnel was only narrow enough to fit one or two people.

It’s fortified with cement. The IDF says the narrow entrance without a lid, meant it would’ve been easy to climb in or out quickly.

Driving deeper into Gaza, rubble lines the road. The war has flattened the suburbs of Khan Younis.

The piercing sound of artillery is constant.

The few buildings still standing are riddled with bullet holes. Troops stop at one such building. It’s a primary school.

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tunnel underneath a cemetery

Israeli Brig. Gen. Dan Goldfus, left, stands by a Hamas tunnel that runs underneath a cemetery in Khan Younis, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Sam McNeil)

The IDF says a gun battle played out here. Israeli soldiers claim Hamas stashed weapons here and dug a tunnel under the playground. 

“We had a Hamas squad hiding in the basement of the school. They popped up and started shooting at us. And this is literally the story of this war,” says Lt. Col. Anchy with the 55th Brigade.

There’s no front line in this war.

New plumes of smoke reveal the ground battles in every direction.

“We’re just working very systematically, one zone after the other, dismantling their infrastructure,” Anchy says.

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opening to a tunnel shaft

Pictured is a tunnel found by IDF. The tunnel stretched for about a kilometer underground, the IDF says. (Israel Defense Forces )

 The IDF recently announced it had encircled the city of Khan Younis, as it urges civilians to flee south.

The war has displaced nearly 2 million people. According to the United Nations, half of the strip’s population is now sheltering in the southern city of Rafah.

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