Israeli forces have implemented innovative methods to tackle the extensive network of tunnels constructed by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. These tunnels, used for various purposes including attacks, smuggling, and storage, pose a significant threat to Israel’s security. In response to a deadly attack by Hamas on southern Israel, the Israeli military has prioritized clearing these underground passageways as part of its ongoing campaign.
Instead of solely relying on traditional munitions, Israeli army engineers have employed exploding gel to neutralize the tunnels. Once the entrance to a tunnel is located, the gel is inserted and detonated, effectively destroying anything inside. In a recent operation in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, surveillance footage showed a building engrossed in flames and smoke billowing from nearby areas after the gel detonation.
To complement this approach, the Israeli military also utilizes tracker robots and other remote-controlled technology for mapping out the vast tunnel network. These advancements enable the army to survey the intricate system without endangering personnel.
While destroying individual tunnel access shafts is relatively quick and straightforward, tackling the extensive tunnel networks themselves presents a greater challenge. The officer leading the operation in Beit Hanoun revealed that several tons of exploding gel, transported via trucks, are required to eliminate every few hundred meters of tunnel. After-action analysis is complex since the interconnected tunnels make it challenging to ascertain the exact number of structures destroyed.
Throughout the campaign, Israel has taken precautions to avoid endangering any potential hostages held by Hamas. In instances where there are indications of a potential hostage presence, clearance operations are subject to approval, ensuring the safety of captives.
Hamas has repeatedly denied using hospitals as cover for their tunnel network, including the prominent Al Shifa hospital. The officer emphasized that efforts are underway to gather intelligence from captured Palestinian gunmen, who possess knowledge of the tunnel system, to aid in the destruction of the entire underground network.
While the task ahead is arduous, it is clear that Israel, through its creative and innovative approach, is committed to dismantling the extensive network of tunnels that pose a constant threat to its security.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the purposes of Hamas tunnels in Gaza?
Hamas utilizes these tunnels for various purposes, including launching attacks, smuggling goods, and storing weapons. The extensive network allows militants to navigate beneath the surface, providing them with tactical advantages.
How is Israel combating these tunnels?
Israel has adopted a unique approach involving the use of exploding gel to destroy tunnels. Additionally, they employ tracker robots and other remote-controlled technology for mapping out the network without exposing personnel to danger.
How are potential hostages taken into consideration during clearance operations?
Israeli forces exercise caution to avoid endangering any hostages who may be held in the tunnels. Operations are subject to approval when there are indications of hostages, ensuring their safety.
How long is it estimated to take to eliminate Gaza’s entire underground network?
Given the complexity and vast reach of the tunnel system, it is anticipated that it will take several months to completely dismantle Gaza’s underground network.