Israel’s most critical mission in Gaza is to destroy the massive Hamas tunnel network. Code-named the “Metro” by the IDF, this underground terror city poses a significant and complex operational challenge.
The full extent of the Hamas tunnel project is unknown. According to estimates, the underground network comprises a total of 1,300 tunnels spanning hundreds of kilometers. The tunnels serve multiple purposes for Hamas and constitute the backbone of the group’s military infrastructure.
IDF forces specializing in tunnel warfare are already training intensively ahead of Israel’s ground assault on Gaza invasion, Ynet reports.
The army will deploy advanced explosives for operations to destroy terror tunnels, as well as robots to scan terrain for underground terror bases, according to Walla News. Meanwhile, the Air Force is bombing tunnel shafts based on precise intelligence to disrupt Hamas operations.
Storing weapons in bunkers
The vast tunnel system allows terrorists to move undetected across different parts of the Gaza Strip, making it harder to track and target them. Moreover, the Hamas leadership in Gaza is believed to hide underground to avoid Israeli assassination operations.
The tunnels also enable Hamas to shield vital assets from airstrikes. Underground bunkers and storage facilities help Hamas protect weapons, ammunition, and other military equipment.
Notably, some tunnels are used as launch sites for rocket attacks on Israel. These sites can be quickly set up and then abandoned, making it difficult for the IDF to predict or prevent rocket launches.
Some tunnels are large enough to serve as operational command centers for Hamas, enabling senior commanders to coordinate military activities above ground.
IDF tunnel warfare unit
Recognizing the strategic significance of tunnels, the IDF developed a doctrine and tactics specifically for underground warfare. This includes specialized military gear and techniques, command and control procedures, communication methods, and coordination between various military branches.
The IDF invested significantly in technologies to detect tunnels and engage in underground combat. The army also leverages advanced intelligence capabilities to gain information about tunneling activities.
In parallel, the IDF’s Yahalom unit — an elite combat engineering force — is trained to operate in this unique combat zone. Yahalom forces practice specialized breaching techniques, close-quarters combat, and methods to safely navigate and destroy tunnels.
To upgrade the capabilities of forces, Israel constructed training facilities that replicate the conditions of Hamas tunnels. This allows troops to practice urban and underground warfare tactics in a realistic setting. Yahalom forces have been training at this site this week.
Given the unique challenges posed by tunnel warfare, the IDF also developed and procured specialized equipment, such as breathing apparatuses, communication tools, and sensors. This gear improves the ability of Israeli forces to operate effectively below ground in a constrained, high-risk environment.
Soon, the IDF’s tunnel warfare skills will be tested. As the army moves to destroy Hamas, demolishing underground terror bases in Gaza is the most vital mission faced by Israel’s forces. In this battle, which will rage across Gaza, the very survival of Hamas and its leadership is at stake.