November 8, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Widens Anti-Tunnel War in Gaza 

November 8, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Widens Anti-Tunnel War in Gaza 

Latest Developments 

The Israeli military has uncovered and destroyed 130 tunnel shafts during the Gaza war to date, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on November 8. The shafts, or access passages to the underground network used by terrorists amid civilian infrastructure, include many located next to hospitals, mosques, schools, and even a children’s fairground, video from the IDF showed

The chief IDF spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, has said that engineering forces used measures — on which he did not elaborate — to destroy both shafts and the deeper tunnels or bunkers to which they led.  

Israel has previously said its anti-tunnel units, which operate as part of the IDF Combat Engineering Corps’ elite Yahalom (Diamond) regiment, have a range of methods to find tunnels and explosives, including robots and attack dogs. Yahalom troops are also kitted with breathing equipment that enables them to conduct direct below-ground warfare.  

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on November 7 that Israeli forces have killed “thousands of terrorists, above ground and below ground.” 

Expert Analysis 

“The relative waning of above-ground fighting in recent days may be explained by a shift of Israeli focus to the so-called ‘Hamas Metro’ under the streets and apartment blocks of Gaza City. This would be an even more dangerous kind of fighting, in which much of Israel’s technological advantages would be eliminated by the confined spaces. The Palestinian terrorists’ knowledge of every twist and turn of the secret passages would also give rise to many ambush opportunities. The IDF will want to proceed carefully and, where possible, bury the enemy within his own bunker rather than needlessly send down troops.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO 

“If the Gaza tunnels might be likened to arteries, then the shafts are the veins — many in number, often leading to the same core network far deeper underground. It is hard to see how the Israelis can be confident of having destroyed Hamas’ s entire subterranean command nexus without properly delving into it. They will want to send down ‘eyes’ — perhaps robotic — to map out as many of the passages as possible. They will also want, to the extent possible, to ascertain that there are no hostages being held in whatever part they are about to tackle.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal 

Israel Kills Hamas Weapons and Rocket Developer,” FDD Flash Brief 

Netanyahu Says No Gaza Cease-Fire Without Hostage Release,” FDD Flash Brief 

10 Things to Know About Hamas Tunnels,” FDD Insight 

10 Things to Know About Hamas,” FDD Insight 


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