Hamas' Attack Tunnels: Initial Implications

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi - Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, delivered a revealing speech on March 23, 2014, in which he stressed the strategic importance of the Hamas attack tunnels, which, he argued, have changed the balance of power with Israel. Tunnel warfare provides armies facing a technologically superior adversary with an effective means for countering its air superiority. The tunnels from Gaza penetrate deep into Israeli territory Hamas has accumulated a great deal of experience in using the tunnels for operational purposes. Since 2000, hundreds of tunnels have been dug along Gaza's border with Egypt, providing a lifeline for Hamas' military buildup. Based on Hizbullah's experience in the Second Lebanon War, and with the assistance and guidance of Iran, Hamas has also made use of the tunnels to build an underground network of missile launchers. The attack tunnels create a new equation in the power balance between Israel and Hamas. They give Hamas an ability to infiltrate Israel and carry out strategic attacks involving mass killing, along with an ability to launch missiles from locations concealed within civilian population centers.

2014-07-23 00:00:00

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