Infantry: Israeli Tunnel Sense

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March 15, 2012: Israel has developed new tactics, equipment, and techniques for dealing with the extensive tunnel systems Hamas (in Gaza) and Hezbollah (in southern Lebanon) have come to increasingly rely on for concealment and protection from bombs, missiles, and shells, as well as to allow movement during combat. Hezbollah, for example, has long used tunnels, which are often in the cellars of homes in southern Lebanon, for storage of rockets. When fighting Israel, Hezbollah men come in (and, ideally, the family living there moves out) and bring out a few rockets at a time and fire them into Israel. Even if the launching location is spotted and fired on by Israeli artillery or aircraft the Hezbollah men, and their rockets, will often survive the shells and bombs and are able to continue coming out (of an alternate entrance to the tunnel) and fire rockets. In Gaza, Hamas plans to do the same thing, in addition to hiding gunmen in the tunnels who can also come out and fire on the Israelis, as Hezbollah has also done in the past.

The Israeli Army has been criticized for not being able to cope with these tunnel tactics. To deal with this negative publicity, the Israeli military has publicized some of what it has developed to neutralize enemy tunnels. Israel has shown off its special training base, where tunnels built to Hamas and Hezbollah specifications have been constructed. Some of the Israeli tactics were demonstrated for the media. This involved troops sending bomb sniffing (and vidcam equipped) dogs into the tunnels (to detect any explosives), followed by remotely controlled robots who would deal with the bombs. The army pointed out that it would normally just destroy tunnels, rather than going into them. But if they had to go in, they had the tactics and techniques.

What the army did not show were the new electronics and sensors used to find tunnels and what was in them. How this gear works is kept secret, as the more the enemy knows about these devices the easier it is to counter them or at least try to. What the Israelis are telling everyone is that tunnels will not be as safe in future wars as they were in past ones.

 


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