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Israel trains for 'tunnel war'

November 11, 2017 at 12:26 pm

Israeli soldiers conduct a military drill in Akraba villiage of Nablus, West Bank on April 4, 2017. ( Nedal Eshtayah – Anadolu Agency )

Following Israel’s bombing of a resistance tunnel at the end of the last month, in which it killed 12 Palestinians, its troops have started to train for a “tunnel war”, reported on Friday.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) expects the Palestinian response to the killings to develop into a full-scale war that would include an Israeli ground operation, Israel’s news website Wallah has said. If this happens, then “tunnel attacks” would be involved.

The IDF expects the underground barrier being built along the border with Gaza to be completed within two years. It is intended to undermine Palestinian resistance attacks against Israeli military targets through the tunnels.

According to the Israeli website, if a war starts before the barrier is completed, Israel faces two “dangerous” scenarios: to encounter the danger of attack through cross-border tunnels, or see the defence tunnels used by the Palestinian resistance to kidnap Israeli soldiers.

Wallah reported a senior commander in the IDF’s southern brigade saying that the tunnels underneath Gaza “are the biggest danger” for which the IDF has to train.

Read: Israel using missing Palestinians in tunnel attack to bargain with Hamas

“The strategy of the next war is to drag the IDF to start a ground operation by continuous missile attacks or sending drones deep within Israel,” said the commander. “The next step is to target Israeli military vehicles with developed anti-shield missiles and explosive devices and snipers.” He noted that the stage after that would be dragging soldiers into the tunnels.

Israeli army sources believe that Hamas has built a complex tunnel network beneath the city of Gaza over the past ten years, in addition to hundreds of tunnels in other parts of the besieged territory that connect together sensitive locations and supply points for use during Israeli offensives.

Read: Israel announces ‘closed military zone’ near Gaza border