Home Islam Hamas, Islamic Jihad Rebuild Gaza Tunnels Faster Than Expected

Hamas, Islamic Jihad Rebuild Gaza Tunnels Faster Than Expected

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There is no way for Israel to destroy militants’ underground infrastructure, security expert says

[Gaza City] The tunnel system used by militant Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip has experienced remarkable growth in form and function since 2000, presenting significant challenges for Israel’s military and political leadership.

Starting from the primitive tunnels with limited depth and protection, they now form fortified and organized networks extending over 60 meters underground throughout the coastal enclave. Highly trained fighters from various Palestinian factions – primarily Hamas and Islamic Jihad – use them to hide rockets, ammunition, and militants from Israeli air strikes and detection, facilitate communication, and infiltrate Israel.

Using cross-border tunnels, Hamas succeeded in capturing Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in June 2006. He was held in Gaza for more than five years, until he was released under a deal. which Israel agreed to release 1,027 Palestinian and Arab Israeli prisoners. , in October 2011.

Using the same strategy, Hamas claimed to have captured two Israeli soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who disappeared in the Gaza Strip in separate battles during the 2014 war. Israel later said the two men had been killed in action and their bodies were still held by Hamas.

Hamas’s so-called metro system also played a major role in the 11-day fight with Israel last May.

Khader Abbas, a Gaza-based security expert, told The Media Line that the Gaza Strip was “the only place in the world where you can’t wage war on the surface because it’s an open, narrow coastal area. and very small that can be easily scanned by advanced enemy technology.

“However,” he argued, “the tunnels have turned this exposed enclave into an important and impregnable place for Palestinian resistance fighters, who achieved significant results in the latest escalation.”

Thanks to the tunnel strategy, Palestinian fighters moved freely, safe from Israeli spies and aerial surveillance, Abbas said.

This made the destruction of the underground infrastructure a priority objective for Israel, which used planes, tanks and artillery to strike the network of tunnels of the Palestinian movements.

After the May mini-war ended, the IDF said it destroyed “more than 100 kilometers [60 miles] from the basement [real estate]”, Adding that these” tunnels constitute a strategic capacity for Hamas “.

However, Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, denied this claim. He said at a press conference that it was over 500 kilometers [300 miles] of tunnels, of which only 5% were damaged by Israel during the latest escalation.

Abo Baraa, a fighter in the military wing of the Al-Quds Brigades of Islamic Jihad, supports this claim, saying the damage was “negligible”.

“We had already repaired some of the damaged tunnels as the battle continued,” he told The Media Line.

Special units responsible for repairing and restoring the tunnels were still present alongside the fighters, according to Abo Baraa.

Abbas said: “The network of tunnels in Gaza is based on a very high level of security that even Israel cannot defeat unless it has the maps of the tunnels, which in my opinion is not. , and it still won’t be an existential problem. threat to the tunnels of the Strip.

The remaining damage to Gaza’s tunnels will likely be repaired in less than three months, and those that have been heavily targeted can be easily diverted, Abbas said.

Each Palestinian military movement has its own network of tunnels which it uses for operational tasks. However, the latest escalation saw a high degree of military coordination between the factions.

Abu Suhaib, another Islamic Jihad fighter, told The Media Line: “We in the Al-Quds Brigades do not hesitate to pass on our military experiences to our brothers from different factions. In fact, we gave rockets to some of them under certain circumstances.

Abbas said: “We have witnessed fierce combat and have been amazed at the significant level of performance of the Palestinian resistance movements, which have shown a respectful degree of coordination and cooperation with one another. “


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