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March 3, 2016 4:15 pm

Report: New ‘Obstacle’ Being Developed to Detect, Destroy Hamas Tunnels

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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An IDF soldier finding a terror tunnel in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. Photo: IDF.

An IDF soldier finding a terror tunnel in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. Photo: IDF.

A new underground defense system is in the works for the Israeli military, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, “The Obstacle” — the system to detect and destroy Hamas tunnels extending from Gaza into Israel — was recently proposed by the IDF to the Knesset, and will be partly funded by the US government, which has agreed to provide $40 million this year.

Though details of the system are confidential, security analysts told the WSJ that it will likely involve the use of acoustic sensors that can pick up sounds of digging or construction taking place underground.

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Residents of Israel’s kibbutzim and moshavim in the south of the country along the Gaza border, have been complaining of hearing hammering and other noises emanating from under their homes, leaving them feeling vulnerable and fearing it is just a matter of time before terrorists infiltrate their communities. Hamas has released a number of videos — a couple of which are in Hebrew — showing terrorists in tunnels, and threatening to use the underground pathways to enter Israel and kidnap and/or kill soldiers and civilians.

As The Algemeiner reported, the IDF has said that every complaint lodged by Israelis hearing clamoring under their houses is taken seriously and investigated, but say that so far, no evidence has been found to back up these claims.

Residents’ fears, as were documented and reported on by The Algemeiner last month, come in the wake of Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, the war that Israel launched against Hamas to destroy the terrorist organization’s infrastructure in Gaza, the enclave that it has controlled since 2006. The vast tunnel network it had created was the target of Israel’s ground incursion, while the air force bombed launching sites from where Hamas sent rockets and mortars into Israeli population centers, both prior to and during the war.

The Iron Dome missile defense system, deployed strategically in sensitive areas throughout Israel, was largely successful at intercepting Hamas rockets. The purpose of “The Obstacle,” according the WSJ report, is to serve a similar purpose in relation to the tunnels.

Reports of Hamas operatives being killed while building tunnels have emerged over the past few weeks, as have reports in the Arab press of cooperation between Israel and Egypt, the other country bordering Gaza, whose government also considers Hamas a threat, and whose main method of tackling the tunnels crossing under its own borders has been to flood them.

It has not been established whether the recent tunnel collapses have been perpetrated by external forces (i.e. the IDF or Egyptian army) or caused by accidents occurring during construction.

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  • George Van Tuyl

    In 1966 I had the pleasure of working with Dr. John Shaw at the Colorado School of Mines Experimental Mine. The name of the study at the time was called Rock Sonic Velocity study.

    The purpose was to determine the frequency at which certain explosives in a given rock strata. In this case much of the rock was gneiss. A fairly hard metamorphic rock. The study centered around p-wave signatures. I assume your scientists could use some of this early study and later follow on ones to identify ongoing tunnel activity. I wish you luck in identifying these structures. I thought that this study will assist you in identifying existing tunnels as well as in process tunnels.

  • I was taught on a kibbutz how to give a horse a pill. One takes a length of tubing, puts one end into the horse, a pill into the other end of the tube and then you blow.

    Warning! Don’t let the horse blow first!

    Why can’t we use this system with tunnels? Let them build their tunnels and put their troops into them. If we can determine when the tunnel is full, we can connect it to our sewerage system and do to them what haKodesh Boruch Hu did to Pharaoh’s soldiers in the Red Sea. Just wait until Pesach.

  • stevenl

    Amazingly numerous tunnels must exist between Mexico and the US and no one in the US seems to care. Zillion dollars of drugs are transferred to the US and the Gvt gives a damn!

  • Eventually, the IDF will go back into Hamas-occupied Gaza and destroy tunnels. The only way to stop Hamas terrorists from murdering Jews is to replace the Hamas terrorist entity with Israeli governance.

  • RiverKing

    Flooding would seem to be more efficient. Command detonated mines at tunnel entrances would be good, too.

    • Peter Joffe

      Detect the tunnels and then fill them with petroleum gas and air. Throw in a match and watch as the tunnels explode. If Israel feels guilty doing this they can sound a siren that will give terrorists 5 minutes to evacuate!! They warn before bombing so why not warn before they turn tunnels into massive tube bombs. How do you kill terrorists ‘nicely? I guess that this cannot be done so fight fire with more explosive fire.

    • John Silverman

      Did you forget that Israel is in a desert? Water should not be wasted on flooding tunnels. Moreover, even if you could flood the tunnels, you would be potentially causing erosion under the foundations of buildings and infrastructure that could open sink holes. Your idea is dangerously moronic.

  • dante

    detection and destruction of the tunnels would be a welcome solution but it is definitely second best. much better would be a declaration that any ATTEMPT to penetrate Israel by land or sea or air constitutes an act of war requiring an immediate and devastating response.

    oh, I almost forgot, the e.u., the u.n. and the media all agree that Israel has no right to defend herself. tough darts: Israel should do what the US, the euros, the Chinese, the Russians, etc. all do and dispose of the threat from the jihadists in gaza. forget about the second set of rules foisted on Israel by its well wishers and antagonists alike…just do what they actually do.

  • leonard feinman

    Fine tuning, over centuries, has led to the discovery of tunnel excavations. We know when there is a minor tremblor half way around the world. We know its strength, location, and depth. The same technology, updated, can tell us about the danger. Triangulation tells us where. We can even go so far as to set up a sympathetic vibration that can collapse these tunnels. Just because it has not been done, does not mean it can’t.

    Dense material carries sound better than air. The Earth is a soundboard, and it works in more than one way. A sympathetic vibration, from the blowing of a shofar, probably brought down the walls of Jericho. I love science.

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