Tuesday, May 23rd | 27 Iyyar 5777

Close

Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

Subscribe
January 20, 2015 2:44 pm

IDF Expanding Elite Tunnel Unit to Meet Emerging Gaza, Lebanon Threats (VIDEO)

avatar by Dave Bender

Email a copy of "IDF Expanding Elite Tunnel Unit to Meet Emerging Gaza, Lebanon Threats (VIDEO)" to a friend

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 IDF’s Yahalom “Diamond” special engineering unit, which focused on finding and destroying Hamas tunnels in Gaza during the summer’s Operation Protective Edge, will be upgraded in size and mission scope due to growing concerns of possible Hezbollah attack tunnels from Lebanon, Israel’s NRG News reported Tuesday.

The army’s General Staff on Monday announced that it had appointed a lieutenant colonel to head expanded conscript and reserve forces, due to the greater manpower required to search, find and destroy such tunnels on both borders.

Related coverage

May 23, 2017 12:14 pm
0

In Surprise, Israeli City of Netanya Set to Host 2018 World Lacrosse Championships

JNS.org - Miriam Feirberg-Ikar, mayor of the Israeli city of Netanya, and Israel Lacrosse Association (ILA) Chairman Scott Neiss announced...

“Lt.-Col. Yaron Ben-On was appointed commander of Yahalom unit,” the IDF said in a statement.

Among the many lessons learned in an internal military audit of the 51-day operation, meant to thwart both rocket fire from above and Hamas terror squads from below, was the lack of an clear doctrine on how to deal with the lengthy concrete tunnels, many with numerous branches and extensive warfare and survival equipment, according to a senior officer in the Southern Command.

Only a few days after the beginning of the operation did the IDF begin comprehensive training for its forces in finding and dealing with the hidden and often booby-trapped entrance shafts and warrens of tunnels.

In Gaza, while the army succeeded in uncovering and destroying 32 such tunnels, Hamas has bragged that it is rebuilding them, and the terror organization may be exploiting European Union (EU) funds to that end.

EU parliament member, Arne Gericke, noted in November of last year that a European Court of Auditors report charged that over 2.5 percent of the EU budget for external relations, aid and enlargement had been misappropriated.

If that percentage is applied to the more than $560 million (€450m) pledged to Gaza, that means nearly $14.7 million (€11.7m) could end up in Hamas’s hands.

As well, both the IDF and northern residents are concerned that Hezbollah in Lebanon may have also succeeded in tunneling into Israel.

Last September, a resident in Moshav Zarit decided to stop asking others to investigate the potentially catastrophic situation, and hired a contractor to begin boring test holes, to see what may be awaiting them from below.

“The army knows all this and is not doing anything,” Kobi Cohen told Channel 10 News.

“The army should have already started digging with a D9 tractor, but, instead of providing answers, is leaving us in fear,” Cohen complained.

However, despite strong contentions by civilians in some communities close to the Lebanese border, the IDF has – so far – maintained they have not found evidence of such tunnels crossing the border through the rocky, hilly terrain.

In August, the IDF began investigating two proposed systems – both of which were tried and rejected in  2005 – according to reports, which have worked in laboratory conditions, 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 around Gaza.

The system would take upwards of a year-and-a-half to implement, along the 65-kilometer border, the army said, but it was unclear if the system would be effective in the mountainous terrain along the far longer northern border, which stretches from the sea to the Golan Heights.

During the 2006 Second Lebanon War against the Shiite terror group, the IDF sustained heavy casualties from militants that would emerge from such well-hidden and equipped Iranian-built tunnels to strike tank forces, and then successfully escape.

“There is a lot of talk about it and concern,” one anonymous source told Israel’s Channel 2 News at the beginning of August, after Kiryat Shmona Mayor Nissim Malka sent a letter to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon asking him to examine the issue as soon as the violence in the south subsided.

Residents “have complained of hearing noises coming from under the ground. I have heard these complaints several times, but yesterday, when I came back from a tour of the Gaza border communities, I understood,” Malka wrote.

“If this is what they did in the South, I am certain [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah is not sitting idly and giving out candy,” Malka warned.

Watch an IDF video of the Yahalom unit in action in Gaza, in which they found weapons in an attack tunnel:

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • Henri J

    Detection of mining operations like digging tunnels is very easy. IDF should consult the experts in that field.

  • Efram

    MAY BE? There are just two destinations for monies sent to Gaza

    1. Into Hamas leaders pockets
    2. Tunnels, weapons, missiles, and other terrorist materials.

  • Peter Joffe

    Why does the IDF not pump the tunnels full of liquid petroleum gas or gasoline fumes and then pump in air and then detonate the mixture from a distance. A tremendous explosion will ensure and go through all the connected tunnels? If the tunnels don’t collapse a tremendous flash of fire will got through the network destroying everything and IDF soldiers don’t have to worry about booby traps as they wont even have to go into the tunnels?

    • Nate

      This is the way to do it, and don’t wait until there are active hostilities.

    • Dvorah

      Peter Joffe, maybe they don’t do it that ay because some of the tunnels also go under Israeli homes?

  • steven L

    The possible presence of tunnels was known from the capture of Shalit!!!

  • Why do you call the murderers “militants” – when the Gentile press calls them Terrorists?

  • Sofia Bain

    Take every step possible to secure both sides of Israel, the enemy does not rest and is bragging how they are rebuilding the tunnels.

    With the European Union giving so much money and it lands in the hands of the terrorists – they will not sit idly by and watch TV.

    Be paranoid, very paranoid, it may save your lives.

  • Donald Krausz

    Charlie Johnson makes sense and perhaps we should all say:
    “Je suis Charlie.” This is not the first time that allegations have been made against the IDF for ignoring practical advice on the detection of tunnels, made well before Operation Protective Edge.

    Many people have the attitude of “We have always done it this way,” which should not happen in Israel’s precarious situation.

    I came across it in 1956 when I worked in Israel and occasionally had to use weapons. Once I was issued with a rifle that had a faulty magazine and so could not be used.
    This was under conditions where we were drilling for oil within sight of Gaza and needed 12 soldiers mounting 2 machineguns to protect us. Upon reporting the useless gun and asking what would be done about it I was told to fill in a form in triplicate.

    Returning to our drill site and demanding to inspect the arsenal held on the premises in case there were guns there that were also not functional, permission was refused. I had been a shooting instructor for the Rhodesian army.

    To me this was a matter of life and death as we were under constant threat from Fedayeen in Gaza. Sure enough, I found another rifle that could not be used. Reporting this only brought reprimands.

    Months later an ex IDF colonel came on an inspection tour.
    I reported to him about our security situation, as well as on the general defence plan. Within one week a notice went out to all the drill sites in Israel instructing them to implement my recommendations.

    Never would I have believed that this could happen in Israel.

  • Dante

    Carbon dioxide is denser than air. And so is lost or chlorine.

  • charlie johnson

    I offered to help the IDF with these kinds of problems.I guess they are going to use a university professor like our defense department does.A tunnel is a lot like the hole your legs go into at a desk.

    • charlie johnson

      >>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 around Gaza.<<<< You can go to any welding supply ,Buy a cutting torch with hose and gauges .A small bottle of Oxygen and acetelene ($300.00) that can be easily carried into a tunnel by one man.Then when he reaches the metal plate cut a hole in it and go right on.4 minutes per plate. If you men need help get in touch.(I am not a Harvard professor.)

      • Reform School

        Harvard professors have degrees from years of Left indoctrination. All you have a functioning brain. Israeli admiration for ‘American know-how’ ended the day Barry Soetoro’s became Harvard professors.

Algemeiner.com