NewsMysterious tunnel network in Gaza Strip. A secret weapon of Hamas

Mysterious tunnel network in Gaza Strip. A secret weapon of Hamas

Destroyed Gaza Strip
Destroyed Gaza Strip
Images source: © EPA, PAP | MOHAMMED SABER
ed. ARGR
4:32 AM EDT, October 29, 2023

Reports from "The New York Times" on Saturday reveal that the Palestinian organization, Hamas, leverages hundreds of tunnels as clandestine corridors into Israel. Besides infiltration, these underground channels are also employed for smuggling various goods, including food, and for transporting people and weapons.

"The New York Times" cites that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched an assault on a unique maritime tunnel of Hamas, which was being utilized for infiltration into Israel. This points to the creative tactics that Hamas has launched in its offensive against Israel.

The sprawling tunnel network underneath the Gaza Strip serves as a covert storage for weapons, and a safe house for fighters and command structures. It presents a significant challenge to any large-scale Israeli ground invasion, considering that Hamas has spent years perfecting these subterranean systems.

The Israeli military announced that Israeli fighter jets undertook an attack on 150 underground stations in the northern Gaza Strip on the night from Friday to Saturday.

"The Gaza Strip has witnessed the use of tunnels for many years, but their numbers have dramatically increased since 2007 when Hamas seized control of the enclave, which consequently led Israel to tighten the blockade. In retaliation, Palestinians have constructed hundreds of tunnels to smuggle food, commodities, individuals, and weapons," "The New York Times" states.

The newspaper points out that some tunnels are meticulously arranged, fitted with medical rooms and hidden chambers positioned deep below the surface. Some reach depths of approximately 131 feet, providing sustained shelter for people over several months.

Concealed entrances in residential areas

The entrances to these tunnels frequently lay concealed within residential properties bordering Egypt, which makes it challenging for Israel to keep an eye on activities in the region. Hamas has even used tunnels to faux attack Israeli tanks in recent films.

Experts surmise that these tunnel systems vary in sophistication. Some are manually dug to escape detection, and their slender passageways limit the movement of soldiers within them. The emergence of maritime tunnels signals a new and perilous trend in subterranean warfare.

"Some analysts estimate the number of tunnels in the hundreds. The leader of the group in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, disclosed in 2021 that the length of these tunnels sums up to about 310.68 miles," articulates the "NYT".

As per the Israeli military's data, the average cost of constructing each of these tunnels is approximately 3 million dollars for Hamas.

The tunnels are often booby-trapped, making them extremely hazardous for military forces. Their complete dismantlement typically demands ground force interventions.

"Hamas continually evolves its tactics in underground warfare, applying their acquired knowledge and expertise in unique and inventive ways," the newspaper quotes an expert in tunnel warfare from Reichman University in Israel.

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