Challenges Posed by Hamas Tunnels Impede IDF Progress in Gaza Strip

A high-ranking security official has revealed that Hamas' extensive tunnel network throughout the Gaza Strip is hindering the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in their efforts to defeat the organization. The IDF is strategizing to neutralize the tunnels by flooding them with seawater and targeting Hamas leadership with specialized bombs provided by the US. The objective is to eliminate the threat posed by the tunnels without jeopardizing the safety of Israeli hostages believed to be held within them.

With two months passed since the outbreak of the conflict, the IDF is actively engaged in both the northern and southern regions of the Gaza Strip.

A particular focus is on the Khan Yunis area, where the military leadership of Hamas, including figures such as Yahya Sinwar, Muhammad Def, and Marwan Issa, is suspected to be hiding in an underground bunker.

Intelligence suggests they are using Israeli hostages as a human shield.

The IDF acknowledges a lapse in correctly assessing the significance of Hamas’ tunnel network over the years.

According to a senior security source, the tunnel system is a major obstacle in the current conflict, significantly delaying the defeat of Hamas.

The extensive network comprises approximately 500 kilometers of tunnels equipped with electrical and ventilation systems.

Thousands of terrorists are believed to be hiding in these tunnels, emerging periodically to engage IDF forces.

These tunnels form interconnected underground cities that span the entire Gaza Strip.

The IDF’s priority is to locate and eliminate the military leadership of Hamas swiftly, anticipating that this action could decisively impact the course of the war and potentially shorten its duration.

The elimination, once the exact location is confirmed and Israeli hostages are ruled out, is planned using bunker-penetrating bombs supplied by the US, known as “Bunker Busters.”

Reports indicate that the IDF has set up large pumps near the Shatti refugee camp to flood the tunnels with seawater.

This process, estimated to take several weeks, aims not only to damage the tunnels’ infrastructure but also to undermine the psychological security of terrorists within.

While the Palestinian Water Authority warns of potential environmental damage due to seawater injection, Hamas dismisses the effort as psychological warfare, claiming that flooding the tunnels would be ineffective for various reasons, including the presence of Israeli abductees and the tunnel’s robust construction.

Despite the challenges, Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi emphasizes that Israel will utilize any means necessary to combat the tunnel threat.

As the conflict continues, with over 80 IDF casualties reported, finding a prompt engineering solution to neutralize the tunnels remains crucial to eliminating Hamas’ military infrastructure and achieving the IDF’s objectives.

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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