The Elimination of Hamas tunnels in the Gaza Strip

For years, the Hamas organization has built an extensive tunnel system in the Gaza Strip using the Qatari money and the cement and iron that Israel has approved to bring into the Gaza Strip. Demolishing the tunnels and killing the terrorists inside are the IDF's greatest challenge, the task is difficult and complex and may last at least a few months.

Large forces of the IDF are waiting on the border of the Gaza Strip for the order of the political echelon to enter the Strip in order to eliminate the military infrastructure of Hamas and kill its military leadership.

The terrorist organizations continue to launch rockets towards Israel and initiate terrorist infiltration into its territory by sea and land.

The political echelon in Israel is determined to order the IDF to enter the Gaza Strip by ground, and it seems that the operation is being delayed by a few days, at the request of the US, to try and release a few more hostages in another deal between Hamas and Qatar.

The ground entry of IDF forces into the Gaza Strip will not be easy, it is a huge built-up area where there are large Hamas forces equipped with anti-tank missiles.

Fighting in a large built-up area is a significant challenge for any army in the world.

Hamas has been preparing for years for the IDF’s ground entry into the Gaza Strip and it is also using various methods of psychological warfare to try and deter Israel from this operation, Muhammad Def and Yahya Sinwar know very well that the IDF is going to break the power of the military wing of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and eliminate it.

The governments of Israel were wrong all along when they allowed Hamas from 2007 until today to receive hundreds of millions of dollars from hostile Qatar and to bring in huge amounts of cement and iron, supposedly to rehabilitate it from the various rounds of fighting.

Israel’s containment policy has failed, security calm cannot be bought with money and humanitarian relief, Hamas built with the Qatari funds, cement and iron and with the engineering assistance of Iran and North Korea, a branching system of tunnels about 100 km long.

More than 200 Israeli hostages are kept in these tunnels, where thousands of armed terrorists are hiding and where there are warehouses for thousands of rockets and workshops for the production of rockets and drones.

The great challenge of the IDF is to destroy this entire system of tunnels and try to free the abductees.

Military advisers of the American government, who have experience in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are advising the IDF to avoid an extensive ground operation in the Gaza Strip and to combine airstrikes from the air with spot raids on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

However, senior officials in the IDF claim that it is not possible to destroy the massive military infrastructure of Hamas without an extensive military operation inside the Gaza Strip.

The tunnels of Hamas are undoubtedly the greatest threat posed by Hamas to the IDF when it enters the Gaza Strip with large forces.

The commanders of the military wing of Hamas use encrypted communication for fear of eavesdropping by the Israeli intelligence and they trapped the tunnels with large explosive charges and prepared ambushes for the IDF forces.

The IDF has experience in eliminating tunnels, in the war in the Gaza Strip in 2014 it destroyed 32 tunnels, but it has no experience in face-to-face combat inside the tunnels against a sophisticated enemy.

The IDF has intelligence on the Hamas tunnel system, dozens of the terrorists the IDF arrested in the Israeli settlements near the border of the Gaza Strip gave additional intelligence information about the tunnels during their investigation, the IDF will also use technological means to locate tunnels during the ground entry into the Gaza Strip, the question is whether this will be enough to eliminate them is an open question at this stage.

The IDF will use means for night vision in the dark tunnels and also gas masks for fear of the poisonous gas that is released from the ground.

The Achilles heel of the tunnels is the need for a continuous supply of electricity to them through generators to operate the ventilation system, therefore Israel must urgently stop the supply of fuel to the Gaza Strip, it must turn the tunnels into a death trap for thousands of Hamas terrorists hiding in them.

It is possible to use gas that will be poured into the tunnels and the robots to locate the Hamas ambushes inside the tunnels, the IDF also has a special unit to fight tunnels, but the challenge is for the entire IDF, IDF commanders will have to show determination and creativity in order to destroy the underground military infrastructure of Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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