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August 11, 2014 4:58 pm

Israeli Army to Begin Testing Gaza-Area Tunnel Detecting Gear

avatar by Dave Bender

A cut-away diagram of Shuja'iya, Gaza, showing how a mosque is connected to adjacent buildings by tunnels, allowing militants to hide rockets and attack Israel through the underground tunnel network. Photo: IDF.

A cut-away diagram of Shuja'iya, Gaza, showing how a mosque is connected to adjacent buildings by tunnels, allowing militants to hide rockets and attack Israel through the underground tunnel network. Photo: IDF.

The Israel army is about to begin field testing two tunnel-detection technologies, which may provide a solution to what has become a vexing problem and terrifying fear for Israel’s southern residents, Israel’s Channel 1 News reported Monday.

The proposed systems  – which were tried and rejected in 2005 – have worked in laboratory conditions, according to Channel 2 News, and are supposedly able to detect both already-dug tunnels, as well as those in progress.

One of the systems, priced at roughly NIS 1-1.5 billion (USD 380-428 million) includes a metal plate extending down some 30-40 meters into the groundwater layer beneath the sandy, clayey soil.

The system would take upwards of a year-and-a-half to implement, along the 65-kilometer border, the army said.

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The steel plates would be rigged with electronic monitoring devices that would broadcast a signal if they were disturbed, according to the report.

Even veteran Israeli residents of towns and farming villages abutting the coastal enclave, used to the 15-seconds or less they have to seek shelter in the event of rocket or mortar attacks are concerned over the prospect of terror welling up from below.

“The threat of a tunnel being under our doorsteps has taken that fear to a new level,” a resident of Kibbutz Alumim told The Algemeiner last week.

A social worker by profession, 49-year-old British-born Esther Marcus — ironically enough — wrote a children’s book entitled, “Color Red,” meant “to help kiddies deal with the situation; help them cope with Red Alert sirens,” meant for rockets raining down.

But, now, with the diabolical possibility of terror tunnels from below opening up, literally, beneath kindergartens, “now I need to come up with a story to help them cope with tunnels!!! that’s a challenge!”

A number of soldiers have died and others have been wounded in firefights with dozens of Hamas terrorists attempting to infiltrate Israeli villages through the tunnels, and there have been at least two abduction attempts against soldiers, including that of  Givati Brigade officer Hadar Goldin.

A Hamas official last Thursday bragged that the terrorist group has more, hidden, tunnels dug from Gaza beneath Israel, beyond the 32 the IDF destroyed during Operation Protective Edge.

“Israelis must feel the pain of the Palestinians,” said Abu Laith, a nom de guerre for a Hamas Izzadin al-Qassam commander, who spoke with the London Times.”They must understand that, if there is no security in Gaza, they will not have any security, either,” he said and noted that the Islamist group has more tunnel ready to use for infiltrations.

“We have more tunnels, and will be able to get back into Israel again,” he threatened, although he admitted that “some of the tunnels were partially collapsed,” according to Israel’s NRG news.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Ministry of Defense is investing millions of shekels in research programs designed to locate tunnels from Lebanon into Israel.

“There is a lot of talk about it and concern,” according to one anonymous source who spoke with Israel’s Channel 2 News last week.

Since the IDF’s discovery and detonation of the terror tunnels from Gaza, jittery Israelis are wondering if their hostile neighbors to the north, across the border in southern Lebanon, might be planning the same tactic.

The issue first came to the public’s attention during the 2006 war against Hezbollah, when the Shi’ite terrorists popped out of well-concealed, planned and equipped tunnels to attack IDF soldiers – often with lethal results.

While that northern network of tunnels didn’t reach into Israel – as far as in publicly known, “I can tell you that the issue of tunnels from Lebanon to Israel is really disturbing the security echelon,” one geologist at Tel aviv University said, adding that “There’s been a lot of talk about it and concerns.”

Another source close to the project acknowledged that “the defense establishment does not want to repeat the mistakes about tunnels in the Gaza Strip,” he noted that officials “want to find a quick solution and not get caught with their pants down.”

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