300 miles of Hamas subterranean terror tunnels the next big challenge for IDF: ‘Gaza metro’
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) faces a daunting challenge posed by an extensive Hamas underground tunnel network running throughout the Gaza Strip. The tunnels are used to facilitate terrorist activities, store and transport weapons and provide safe pathways for militants. The IDF has already conducted multiple campaigns to disrupt and destroy the subterranean infrastructure, but the task of uncovering the entire network and completely deactivating the tunnels is expected to remain an ongoing challenge.
The IDF will continue to deploy various strategies to identify and neutralize tunnels, including ground sensor networks, aerial intelligence and mapping, reinforced anti-tunnel walls along the Gaza border and electronic warfare systems. In addition, the military is actively exploring technological solutions to detect any future tunnel-building activity, such as the use of ground-penetrating radar or specialized drones.
Apart from these offensive measures, the IDF is also taking steps to prevent the use of such tunnels by civilians. For example, in 2017, the IDF launched a campaign called “underground Gaza Metro” in an effort to provide an underground transport system for Gaza residents living close to the border. This project entailed transforming the existing terror tunnels into a safe, regular mass transit line with dedicated stops, tracks and eventually electric trains. The Metro will provide an alternative for Gazans to get to other parts of the Strip rather than traversing the tunnels, thus discouraging the utilization of the tunnels for illicit purposes.
The Underground Gaza Metro project presents a unique example of the IDF’s dual focus of both offensive and defensive anti-tunnel measures. While the offensive techniques will work to destroy the existing underground infrastructure, the Metro project renders it obsolete and limits its recurrence. It is only by combining both types of strategies, that the IDF can hope to rid the Strip of both the current and future threat posed by the Hamas tunnels.