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The Hamas tunnels

July 26, 2014 - Harry Eagar
Israel’s open warfare with Hamas is, so the government says, partly about the tunnels by which terrorists are introduced into southern Israel. This opinion piece in The Washington Post attempts, not entirely successfully, to account for the alarm the Israelis feel about tunnels.

Be that as it may, I wonder why there is not a tech defense against tunnels. Israel has one of the best archaeological infrastructures in the world.

Israel knows how to use airborne magnetic anomaly detectors and sidescan radar to identify long buried ancient sites. It ought also be possible to use seismic sensors to indicate where tunnels are being dug. In this Haaretz story, other methods are suggested, from something as simple as microphones (used during World War I) to microgravity sensors to satellite observation.

The purpose of this post is only to ask whether there is not a tech answer to the ancient military use of tunnels, not to suggest that a ground invasion of Gaza is not necessary on other grounds

Haaretz hints both that the Israel Defense Forces have been remiss and that they have tried at least some tech defenses with indifferent results:

"Langotsky says it was a mistake not to give Military Intelligence and the IDF’s technological units responsibility for finding a solution to the tunnel problem. Instead, too much money has been wasted, he says.

"For secrecy’s sake, the IDF, the Defense Ministry and the defense contractors developing the technology — such as Elbit Systems and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems — declined to answer TheMarker’s queries on the matter. Scientists from the Technion, where two teams are working on the tunnel problem, also declined to comment.

"The Defense Ministry said: 'All the technologies mentioned in the story are very well known to the defense establishment and have been examined in depth in light of the threat and soil conditions in the sector. For reasons of classified information, we are prevented from providing details on the use of each of these technologies.' ”

RtO suggests that finding tunnels offers superb opportunities for psychological warfare, a chance to reverse the thrust of asymmetric warfare that usually works against the stronger side.

For example, a tunnel could be mined with an “Ambien bomb,” something to put terrorists to sleep as they emerge or wait near the Israel exit of a tunnel. (Strictly, such a “bomb” would violate international law, but I do not think these laws are worth acknowledging.) Then the would-be terrorists could be hog-tied and perp-walked through Tel Aviv.

More fiendish would be turning the psychological reaction that Gerard DeGroot says is the tunnel’s reason for being against the tunnelers.

If it is possible, as Haaretz asserts, to detect people in a tunnel, then preset mines or air attacks at each end, sealing them in, ought to make even dedicated Palestinian would-b e martyrs reluctant to become tunnel militants.

A Fox News story, using IDF sources, says the Gaza entrances to the tunnels are hidden in mosques, schools, homes and sometimes UN relief buildings, which make locating both ends of a tunnel from outside problematic, although daring Israeli “tunnel rats” could overcome this problem.

 
 

Article Comments

(5)

OneAikea

Jul-27-14 7:59 PM

One war was for the prevention of the Domino effect of communism. One is a war that is religious. Common of both wars are the supplier of weapons.

OneAikea

Jul-27-14 5:39 PM

Ak-47s and RPGs were also used in Vietnam. SAMs. Pungi stakes. Crossbows. Seems Hamas is not as armed but now Hamas has cellphones. Vietnam did not.

Iwo Jima. Afghanistan. Seems, I hate to say, very similiar in all ways of being a Ninja taught by Japanese.

I still believe WMD is the act of terrorism and whatever weapons used is also WMD.

I assume I know who the real enemy is. The enemy lies within.

OneAikea

Jul-27-14 2:27 AM

If Hamas is attacked they hide in the tunnels. On the news they showed soldiers carrying rockets and guns. The tunnels become shelters.

HarryEagar

Jul-27-14 12:33 AM

The Hamas tunnels are not usually occupied, so different from Cu Chi. Also, the Viets were well armed, Hamas is not.

The situations are not that similar.

OneAikea

Jul-26-14 9:24 PM

Cu Chi, Vietnam was a city under a city. Underground hospitals, sleeping quarters, armories, etc. Even found vehicles used to create electricity.

Tunnel rats were used to explore tunnels. Water to flush out and gasoline or Napalm to burn out persons in tunnels. Use concusion grenades to create loud noise to deafen persons in tunnels. "Fire in the hole". Seems Israel is not knowledgeable about Vietnam but wars in both countries are the same. No one knows the real enemy. I assume there is another reason.

 
 

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