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Isreal & Hamas Latest News

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The ex-IDF deputy chief said soldiers won’t enter the tunnels; we’ll turn them into Hamas traps without going in.Images 2023 11 08t004108.692Former deputy IDF Chief of Staff Yair Golan says that under no circumstances should or will IDF soldiers enter Hamas tunnels as the Army broadens its ground operation to destroy Hamas’s military capabilities.

In an interview with Army Radio, the reserves general says you don’t need to go into the tunnels, and it would be a mistake to enter the tunnels where Hamas is hiding and waiting.

Images 2023 11 08t004716.585The wisdom is to find the entrances and seal them or send in smoke that will cause the enemy to come out, says Golan.

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Under no circumstances do you fight in the tunnels where there is no chance that you won’t get hurt. You don’t fight inside the tunnels; you counter the threat of the tunnels.

He says that when it is put to him that Hamas is capable of remaining inside its vast underground tunnel network forever, Golan says, Take my word for it.

 

The IDF has the capabilities today to deal effectively with the tunnels. It has all the knowledge and the means. Golan, who headed south on October 7th and joined in the fighting against rampaging Across Western Negev elaborated the moment that we get to the tunnels, or regarding the tunnels we’ve already reached, from the moment the entrances are found, the full advantage is with the attacking forces.

 

When asked whether the IDF would have to enter Shifa Hospital to expose and deal with the tunnel entrances there, Golan said he did not know how the fighting would play out, and he stressed the two imperatives of battling Hamas and freeing the hostages.

 

Asked whether he would favor a deal whereby the hostages are freed in return for the Hamas leadership being given safe passage to Iran, Syria, or elsewhere, Golan said, If only we could get to a situation where the Hamas leaders sail away and our hostages are freed. That would be almost too good to be true. He stressed that nobody knows what is realistic in terms of any such deal. But he adds, Are we ready to pay a heavy price for the release of the hostages? The answer is yes.

 

When he is asked about US President Joe Biden’s support for a pause in Israel’s offensive to enable the release of the hostages, Golan says anything that enables the speedy release of the hostages would be blessed, but he doesn’t think it will be that simple.

 

He notes that Hamas is not the only force holding hostages. So there are other groups and clans. He says what Israel can expect in a Gaza Metro tunnel fight is that the Israel Hamas War is set to enter a bitter and bloody phase both in the streets and as deep as 70 meters underground.

 

Amid fears of yet another long war in the region, Israel has now begun its ground campaign in Gaza.

 

The Israel Defense Forces IDF has already claimed several successes in its 3-week campaign, including the elimination of several leaders, including Ibrahim Biari, who is described as the ring leader of the October 7th attacks, and liberating at least one hostage held by Hamas.

 

But Israel’s military commanders will know that this is unlikely to be a simple operation. Among the factors complicating their mission of eliminating Hamas is the Gaza Metro, a vast network of interconnected tunnels within the region.

 

Having invested heavily in subterranean infrastructure over the years, Hamas is counting on this network to aid its survival in the coming weeks.

 

Underground Engineering

 

Underground engineering has a long history in warfare. From antiquity to Vietnam, a range of groups have used tunnels to gain an advantage.

 

Not only can they provide concealment and freedom of movement, but they also present a range of challenges for the attacking force.

 

They can be hardened against any attacks from the surface. Storming underground networks can also be prohibitively difficult for an attacker given the limited space available. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.

 

For instance, the threat posed by Western air power caused the Islamic State (IS) to construct a large network of tunnels.

 

These tunnels made surveillance and air strikes difficult and were riddled with traps, making capture by the ground forces dangerous and difficult.

 

These benefits only really work if the tunnels are defended, of course, which wasn’t always the case.

 

For instance, in the 2015 battle for Sinjar, the majority of his fighters were long gone by the time Kurdish land forces arrived to liberate the city.

 

Hamas’s tunnel network presents a unique problem for the IDF. While the tunnels vary in quality, many are well equipped, hardened, and deep enough to evade detection by ground penetration on radar.

 

 

Unsurprisingly, key Hamas allies, including Iran, are boasting about the Gaza Metro.

 

The network provides the group with a haven and a means to move around the region unobserved; it places leadership and organizational infrastructure out of reach from air attacks.

 

The system is loaded with supplies as well as weapons and fuel-defended booby trapped and likely to be populated with human shields and hostages as well as fighters.

 

They will be challenging for even a well-equipped and capable attacking force.

 

Yet, if not addressed, Hamas may continue to operate irrespective of what happens on the surface.

 

Indeed, as many of the tunnels lead across the border, there is a risk of further incursions, rocket strikes, and attacks on IDF forces, and given the heavily urbanized nature of Gaza, much of the network is beneath civilian infrastructure, which further complicates Israeli operations.

 

Hamas is a proficient and prolific user of tunnels, but in honing its expertise, the group has also provided Israeli forces with a decades-long crash course in how to deal with their underground

operations.

 

In addition to their own experience with Hamas tunnels, the IDF can also draw upon lessons from US experiences with drug cartels borrowing on their southern border with Mexico. While Hamas is counting on its tunnels to cause problems, Israel already has a range of solutions and has already gained valuable experience in underground operations.

 

A range of innovative, purpose-built technologies and strategies can be used to provide the IDF with a technological edge.

 

Some are simple, such as flooding tunnels with sewage, whereas others are more complex, involving specialized engineering.

 

Some solutions, such as ground-penetrating explosives, might be difficult to use, given the presence of civilians.

 

Israel has known about the tunnels for a long time and is taking them seriously. Recent operations suggest that the time spent training for this exact scenario is going to pay off, at least to a certain extent. But dealing with a network of more than 300 miles is still going to represent a massive challenge, and storming or blocking off every part of the system is probably impossible.

 

Overall, Israel has no perfect solution to the complex problem posed by the Hamas Underground network, but years of dealing with the Hamas Metro mean the IDF is not entirely unequipped to confront the challenge. It seems inevitable that the next few days and weeks will be a better struggle, both in the streets of Gaza and as deep as 70 meters below ground.

 

Who is Hamas

HAMAS–the acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (Islamic Resistance Movement)—is the largest and most capable militant group in the Palestinian territories and one of the territories’ two major political parties. HAMAS emerged in 1987 during the first Palestinian uprising, or intifada, as an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch. The group is committed to armed resistance against Israel and the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state in Israel’s place. HAMAS has been the de facto governing body in the Gaza Strip since 2007, when it ousted the Palestinian Authority from power.

OPERATING AREAS

Primarily in Gaza; also maintains a presence in the West Bank; Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon; and key regional capitals, such as Doha, Qatar, and Cairo, Egypt.

MEMBERS

Between 20,000 and 25,000

TACTICS AND TARGETS

HAMAS uses improvised explosive devices, short- and long-range rockets and mortars, small arms, kidnapping operations, rocket-propelled grenades, man-portable air defense systems, antitank missiles, and unmanned aircraft systems in attacks against Israeli military forces and civilians, as well as against ISIS and other Salafist armed group members based in Gaza. The group also uses cyber espionage and computer network exploitation operations.

FOREIGN TERRORIST GROUP DESIGNATION

The US State Department designated HAMAS as a foreign terrorist organization in October 1997.

KEY LEADERS

Ismail Haniyeh

Political Bureau chief since May 2017; has operated from Doha, Qatar, since 2020

Salih al-Aruri

Political Bureau deputy chief since 2017

Yahya Al Sinwar

Gaza Political Bureau chief since 2017

Khaled Mashal

Political Bureau External Region chief since early 2021; Political Bureau chief from April 1996 to May 2017

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