TechHamas and its tunnels. A significant challenge for the Israel Defense Forces

Hamas and its tunnels. A significant challenge for the Israel Defense Forces

Hamas fighters during an ambush on an Israeli armored transporter.
Hamas fighters during an ambush on an Israeli armored transporter.
Images source: © X (formerly Twitter) | FUNKER530
7:48 PM EDT, November 2, 2023

The internet is increasingly inundated with videos of the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip. One of the major challenges for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), also referred to as Tzahal, are the tunnels utilized by Hamas fighters to set up ambushes. This article aims to explain how this method is employed.

At present, the Tzahal forces are tasked with dividing the Gaza Strip into two sections and eradicating Hamas presence in the northern region. The intensity of the battles indicates the calculated tactics of both parties involved.

Israel leverages the technology of Merkava tanks to bolster infantry support when eliminating fortified Hamas defensive points. Air support is provided by helicopters in pursuit of Hamas fighters attempting mortar strikes from building rooftops. Armored bulldozers are also deployed to clear passages for tanks.

The tactics of Hamas fighters

In contrast, Hamas fighters employ assault groups equipped with anti-tank weapons. An expansive labyrinth of tunnels is utilized to circumvent Israeli defenses and launch attacks from unexpected directions.

The following section features a video recording of one such attack executed by Hamas fighters. The IDF’s armored transporter is targeted (resembling an Achzarit). Common RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launchers, equipped with tandem warheads capable of piercing up to 24 inches of armored steel, are used in this instance. These can be identified by their distinct additional spike.

Most likely, this is an Iranian-made grenade capable of penetrating a single layer of reactive or rod armor, as visible on the hit Achzarit. Further, Hamas fighters often attempt to fire from two launchers almost simultaneously, in the hope that at least one grenade will breach the Trophy active defense system.

This defense system is absent in older Achzarit transporters constructed on the T-54/55 tanks chassis. The absence proved detrimental in this case. Online reports suggest nine IDF soldiers were killed. Given that the maximum carrying capacity of the transporter is ten soldiers, these reports are potentially plausible (three crewmembers and seven infantry soldiers).

In all likelihood, such scenes will continue to intensify as the conflict extends into the more densely populated regions of Gaza.

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