The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are facing one of their most complex challenges yet in the current conflict with Hamas – the extensive network of tunnels beneath Gaza City. These tunnels, used by Hamas terrorists for clandestine movement and attacks, also serve as hideouts for commanders and storage for weapons.
To counter this subterranean threat, the IDF has ingeniously replicated a tunnel network in Israel, mirroring those discovered in Gaza. This underground training ground, complete with sophisticated passageways and varying conditions, is preparing IDF soldiers for the unique challenges of tunnel warfare.
The IDF’s training facilities include both well-lit, spacious corridors and narrow, dust-filled tunnels. Soldiers learn essential skills like maneuvering in confined spaces, lowering each other between levels, laying explosives, and teamwork. Cutting-edge technology, including small reconnaissance robots and the specialized Oketz dog units, are part of this comprehensive training program.
Brig. Gen. (res.) Amir Avivi, head of the IDF’s combat engineering school, revealed the striking similarities between these training tunnels and the actual Hamas tunnels. The Hamas network, described as an “underground city,” includes features like cables, ventilation systems, and multiple rooms – the result of two decades of construction.
The discovery of the tunnel system’s scale, which reportedly cost over a billion dollars to build, was a revelation even for the IDF’s Intelligence. Combat engineers, operating the D9 armored bulldozer, play a crucial role in uncovering these tunnels. These bulldozers, equipped to withstand explosions and attacks, lead the charge in the field.
The strategic importance of these tunnels for Hamas extends to smuggling operations under the Gazan-Egyptian border. Hamas not only smuggles weapons but also civilian goods, taxing the latter to enrich its leaders.
The IDF’s commitment to counter these tunnels is a testament to Israel’s resolve to protect its citizens from terror threats. The ongoing conflict highlights the IDF’s innovative approach and steadfast determination to defend the State of Israel and uphold its values of security and peace. As Israel continues to face these challenges, its dedication to safeguarding its borders and ensuring the safety of its people remains unwavering.