‘Whole city of terror tunnels’ discovered

Special to WorldTribune.com

TEL AVIV — Israel’s military has begun its first major test in underground warfare.

Military sources said the Israel Army was engaged in its first major campaign to detect and destroy Hamas’ huge underground network in the Gaza Strip. They said the campaign marked a test of newly-acquired doctrine, skills and equipment.

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett

“A whole city of terror tunnels has been found,” Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said. “Without the ground operation, we would have woken up one day to an Israeli 9/11.”

The Army has discovered some 50 tunnels in and around the Gaza Strip. The sources said the tunnels, some of them 30 meters underground, formed a network meant to infiltrate Israel and attack communities near the Gaza frontier.

“It’s like the ‘Underground’, the ‘Metro’ or the ‘Subway,” Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said. “These tunnels are all connected. I would describe it as ‘Lower Gaza.’ ”

The sources said the war in the Gaza Strip could serve as a prelude for a more extensive underground war with the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah. They said the tunnels in southern Lebanon would be much harder to detect than those in the sandy terrain of the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas planned these tunnels for years, and planned to use them to kidnap soldiers,” Israeli military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mordechai Almoz said. “[Now] they see the tunnels collapsing one after the other.”

For the last two years, the army has sought to develop skills and equipment to fight in enemy tunnels and bunkers. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been using tunnels to infiltrate Israel, abduct soldiers, fire rockets
deep within the Jewish state, operate command and control as well as conceal
fighters amid any invasion of the Gaza Strip.

“There is a significant operational need for the development of a
subterranean maneuvering capability in view of the currently evolving and
future threats and operational challenges,” [Res.] Col. Atai Shelach, a
leading ground commander, said. “The IDF will be required to operate in the
subterranean medium more and more intensively in the coming years and
decades.”

In an analysis for Israel Defense magazine, Shelach said underground
warfare required precision intelligence as well as combat skills. He also
cited technology, weapons and communications to coordinate with above-ground
troops.

“Without sounding like a pessimist or a preacher, it must be noted that
subterranean warfare is a major type of warfare, just like the warfare
categories associated with combat operations in urban terrain, in open
terrain, in dense/tangled areas or in fortified localities,” Shelach said.

The sources acknowledged that Israel has been challenged by entry to
enemy tunnels, avoiding booby-trapped tunnels and the selection of tunnels
in underground combat. Other challenges include training soldiers to fight
in an environment with little oxygen or light.

“Today, we suffer from techno-operational blindness that stems from the
absence of technological capabilities for spotting the subterranean
objectives, and once they have been spotted — for operating down there
while ensuring the security of the forces on the one hand and operating
effectively from an operational point of view on the other hand,” Shelach
said.

July 22, 2014 | 1 Comment »

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  1. And where, pray tell, did Hamas get all that concrete?

    Remember all that pressure to loosen the blockade in the wake of the Mavi Marmora fiasco? Think about it.

    “The intention behind Hamas’ tunnels is clear from where the exits are located: inside Israel. The terror organization packed its subterranean networks of tunnels and bunkers with explosives, weapons, and murderers, some disguised as IDF soldiers. Their gallant plan was to send the killers through the tunnels, so they could emerge from the ground in the middle of Israeli kibbutzim and start throwing grenades and shooting indiscriminately, with the goal of killing as many Israelis as possible. That’s not very neighborly.

    So, where did Hamas get all that concrete? Most of it came from you and your government. Hamas got its hands on the supplies it needed to build the tunnels after it pleaded with the international community last year to help redeem Gaza from the throes of a humanitarian crisis, caused by the fact that both Israel and Egypt closed their borders to Gaza, because both countries grew tired of having their soldiers and citizens murdered by terrorists. Needless to say, Israel’s concerns about how the concrete would be used were universally derided in the West as inflicting cruel and needless suffering on the people of Gaza — who, needless to say, didn’t receive any of the concrete for their own use. The priorities of Ismail Haniyeh’s government were crystal clear — to use all resources at their disposal to launch another war with Israel.

    And if you are among the tens of thousands of political idiots who spent last weekend demonstrating in support of Hamas — now that the Khmer Rouge isn’t fashionable — it may also be useful for you to know that while Gazans languish in in poverty, Hamas’ bosses are living large; Haniyeh, for example, bought 27,000 square feet of beach-side property a few years ago for $4 million, pays for his children to study in Europe, and sends his family members to hospitals inside Israel — all good choices, which he ensures are not available to anyone in Gaza who isn’t a high-level member of his fundamentalist political cult.

    What all this adds up to is that Hamas is not seriously interested in governing Gaza, which is why all the honorable attempts at resolving this current round of bloodletting will fall flat. New elections won’t help. Giving Hamas more concrete won’t help either…” MORE HERE.