Israel’s Top Priority: Destroying Gaza Terror Tunnels

Israel’s top priority: Gaza terror tunnels (Archive)

The IDF faces a daunting mission: Exposing and destroying the enormous Gaza terror tunnels built by Hamas. Only now has the scale of this underground project been fully exposed, with Israeli forces operating deep in enemy territory.

By now, Israel realizes that Hamas strategically designed the Gaza tunnel system for prolonged warfare. It comprises leadership bunkers, command centers, weapons storage sites, and arms production centers.

A Maariv Online report notes that Hamas constructed parts of the tunnel network to very high standards, presenting a formidable challenge to Israeli forces. As it turns out, the IDF did not anticipate the scope and complexity of Gaza’s tunnels.

The complete demolition of this underground terror base requires substantial resources and extensive logistics. An IDF officer told Ynet that Israel would need “all the mines in the world” to eradicate the entire system.

Another officer said that the underground network includes many booby-trapped shafts, heavily fortified doors, and some tunnels reaching significant depths. The military official predicted that the demolition project will take a very long time.

The IDF estimates that dozens of massive tunnels remain in northern Gaza, near the Israeli border. However, military journalist Tal Lev-Ram wrote that the underground terror infrastructure is too extensive to be completely destroyed.

Leading the mission in Gaza is the IDF’s Yahalom unit, an elite engineering force specializing in underground warfare. The unit uses various methods and advanced gear to detect, search, and destroy tunnels. In parallel, Israeli forces across Gaza keep discovering new underground spaces.

Expert analyzes Hamas tunnels

Yehuda Kfir, an Israeli tunnel warfare expert, noted the presence of heavy steel doors in many Gaza tunnels. Hamas clearly has the money and skills required to handle the high expenses and serious logistics involved, he said.

Kfir noted that Hamas developed advanced digging abilities, improvised high-quality tools, and gained technological expertise to build deep underground.

Highlighting the danger posed by the vast network, he noted that large tunnels feature staging areas for terrorists preparing to launch attacks, with shafts designed for rapid mobilization.

According to Kfir, most tunnel-building experts come from southern Gaza, suggesting that tunnels in this region are likely larger and more elaborate than in northern Gaza. the IDF estimates that Hamas leaders are hiding in the southern sector, particularly in the Khan Younis area.

To fully demolish the tunnel threat, Kfir said Israel should construct its own tunnels into Gaza, equipped with sensors and robots to expose the entirety of the Hamas tunnel network.

Meanwhile, Israeli engineers are reportedly working on creative solutions to neutralize the tunnel system, including flooding it with seawater. Defense Minister Gallant warned earlier that Israel needs to come up with an industrial-scale solution.

For the time being, the IDF is mostly blowing up tunnels using explosives and airstrikes. Yet as the war continues, eliminating the full network will become Israel’s ultimate priority, to ensure that Gaza no longer poses a strategic threat.