TechHamas has underground city. Israelis reach for "bunker busters"

Hamas has underground city. Israelis reach for "bunker busters"

Hamas Underground Tunnel
Hamas Underground Tunnel
Images source: © Twitter

1:26 PM EDT, October 11, 2023

A video has appeared in the media that allegedly displays underground Hamas warehouses where fighters store rockets. It has long been known that the labyrinth of tunnels located under Gaza serve for the transport of food, weapons, and even fuel. They also serve as a hideout and meeting place for the Palestinian armed group. For this reason, they are one of the targets chosen by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). There are reports that Israel even resorted to "bunker busters", powerful bombs that are capable of penetrating deep into the ground before detonation.

Yossi Mekelberg, an expert on Israel at the London-based think tank Chatham House, in an interview with Al Jazeera television service said that during the conflict in Gaza in 2014, Israeli soldiers were imprisoned and killed in underground tunnels when they tried to attack Hamas. The experiences gained at that time have made the IDF prefer not to risk their own forces and attack structures from a distance.

Israel is bombing Hamas's underground tunnels

In addition, according to Mekelberg, Hamas knows the tunnel network the best, and IDF soldiers will never be able to move around them freely on their own. In the footage below, you can see what one of these underground labyrinths, referred to by the Israelis as "tunnels of terror", looks like. It most likely serves Hamas for storing and launching rockets towards Israel. Rocket batteries hidden just a few yards under the surface can be discovered through a special hatch for the time needed to launch a volley.

Experts suspect that the IDF is bombing tunnels using so-called "bunker busters". One of the most advanced weapons of this type are the American GBU-72 Advanced 5K Penetrator bombs, which according to available information can penetrate 98 feet deep into the ground or overcome 20 feet of concrete and destroy everything in the vicinity with the resulting shock wave. In 2021, reports emerged that Israel is interested in acquiring the GBU-72 from the United States. The agreement has not yet been concluded, and Israel is most likely bombing Hamas tunnels using an older version of GBU-72, namely GBU-28 bombs.

The Israel Defense Forces have reached for them more than once. For example, the GBU-28s fell on Hamas tunnels in 2021 during the "Guardian of the Walls" operation in Gaza. These are laser-guided bombs, developed in record time for the needs of the Gulf War in 1991. The US Army urgently needed a weapon that would help destroy reinforced targets, such as bunkers and underground command centers in Iraq. The GBU-28 prototype was created in just a few weeks.

The GBU-28 bombs are 19 feet long, have a diameter of approximately 14.5 inches, and possess a warhead that weighs around 4,397 pounds. They are dropped from fighter jets, such as the F-15E Strike Eagle (used by the IDF), or from B2 type bombers. The bomb accelerates as it falls, enabling it to penetrate to a depth of about 98 feet in the case of soil, or to a depth of around 20 feet in the case of concrete. When the GBU-28 strikes the ground, a fuse is activated, which triggers a detonation moments later. The explosion beneath the surface creates a powerful shock wave that destroys everything in the vicinity, and can also damage nearby structures, possibly leading to their collapse.

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