reuters Israeli ground forces in the Gaza Strip will face a tunnel network hundreds of kilometers long and 80 meters deep belonging to the Hamas movement, citing security sources. One freed hostage described them as resembling “spider webs”.
According to Western and Middle Eastern sources, Hamas has several different types of tunnels beneath the 360 km wide coastal sand strip.2To fulfill the purpose of attack, smuggling, storage and other activities.
A US official said Washington believes Israeli special forces will face an unprecedented challenge fighting Hamas while trying to ensure the safety of hostages held underground.
Hamas tunnels under the Gaza Strip. Photo: Reuters
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Iraq’s nine-month battle to retake the city of Mosul from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) organization may be easier than Israel’s wait – possibly with “many IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) )” and net.
Although Israel has invested heavily in detecting tunnels, including an underground barrier equipped with sensors called the “Iron Wall”, Hamas is still believed to have active tunnels leading to the world outside Gaza. .
After the most recent conflict in 2021, Yehya al-Sinwar, the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, said: “They said they destroyed 100 kilometers of Hamas tunnels. The tunnels we have in the Gaza Strip are over 500 kilometers.” Are long.” If their story is true, they destroyed only 20% of the tunnels.”
Most security analysts accept Mr. Sinwar’s statement. The above tunnel network is one of the few ways to help Hamas bring weapons, military equipment and troops into Israeli territory.
Hamas believes that with Israel’s superior air and armored military superiority, the tunnels are a way to eliminate some of that advantage by forcing Israeli troops to go underground in tight spaces without Hamas sensing it.
According to Western sources, Hamas’ tunnel is made of concrete and is of good quality. Additionally, Hamas tunnels from Egypt are believed to be still active.
An Israeli military spokesman said last week: “I will not go into detail about the number of kilometers of tunnels, but it is a large number, built under schools and residential areas.”
Former Israeli general Amir Avivi, deputy commander of the Gaza division tasked with manning the tunnels, admitted: “Even though we have been under massive attack for several days, our ability to command and control, and “Even Hamas’s ability to launch counter-attacks is still largely intact.” There is an entire underground city in the Gaza Strip at a depth of 40-50 meters. There are bunkers, headquarters, warehouses and of course they are connected to more than 1,000 rocket launch sites.
Israeli soldiers stand near the Hamas tunnel. Photo: Reuters
Hamas was founded in the Gaza Strip in 1987 and began digging tunnels in the mid-1990s.
Tunneling became easier in 2005 when Israel withdrew troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip and when Hamas gained power in the 2006 elections.
The tunnel is about 1 meter wide and Hamas uses winches to transport goods across the sandy tunnel floor.
The tunnel network is the main reason why Hamas is stronger in Gaza than in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israeli settlements, military bases and surveillance equipment in the West Bank make access from Jordan more difficult.
Rafah tunnel operator Abu Qusay said digging an 800-meter tunnel takes 3-6 months and can generate profits of up to $100,000 a day. The most profitable commodity are bullets, which are bought for $1 per round in Egypt and cost more than $6 in the Gaza Strip. In Egypt the Kalashnikov rifle costs $800 and is sold for double the price.