Hamas tunnels in Gaza exceed IDF expectations in strength and complexity

Written by Jeppe W

Nov.30 - 2023 10:30 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com

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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have expressed astonishment at the sophistication and strength of the tunnel networks used by Hamas in Gaza.

In an interview with Newsweek, an IDF engineer officer highlighted the unexpected complexity and robustness of these tunnels, which play a central role in Hamas' military strategy.

Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, has long utilized these underground networks for both defensive and offensive purposes, including smuggling weapons.

These tunnels have become a critical target for Israeli forces amid the ongoing conflict.

The IDF engineer noted that while they expected to encounter such tunnels, the actual strength and sophistication, characterized by concrete reinforcements, stairs, and multiple intersections, were surprising.

The Gaza Strip's underground networks date back to the period of Israeli occupation and expanded significantly after Hamas took control in 2007.

These tunnels are described as Hamas' "main assets" and are connected to various civilian centers, including hospitals and mosques, complicating the Israeli military's efforts.

The IDF has uncovered hundreds of tunnel shafts and focuses on destroying these without entering, using airstrikes or explosives, to mitigate the risks associated with delving into them.

The IDF officer emphasized that the primary goal is not to play into Hamas' hands by following enemies into the tunnels but to neutralize threats while destroying the tunnel structures.

The conflict's dynamics have evolved with the use of these tunnels, reflecting the persistent challenges and uncertainties faced by both sides.

The IDF's strategy now includes a focus on southern Gaza, with a significant emphasis on demolishing these underground routes.

Hamas, on its end, has used tunnels for ambushes and setting traps, as seen in the recent incident near Beit Hanoun, where four Israeli soldiers were killed. Hamas has consistently denied using tunnels underneath civilian-protected sites like hospitals, despite IDF claims.

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