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Tunnels keep collapsing on Hamas members

Tunnels keep collapsing on Hamas members

Break out the tiniest violin.

Tunnel warfare was a key to Hamas surviving the 2014 Gaza War.

Hamas used an extensive tunnel system to hide under civilian structures, to move terrorists, and to launch raids into Israel.

Tunnel entrances usually were within civilian homes in Gaza:

Wolf Blitzer took a tour of some of the tunnels during 2014, as Israel captured and destroyed much of the tunnel network:

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also took a tour:

After the end of hostilities, Hamas has diverted international aid and cement deliveries towards reconstructing the tunnels. People may be homeless, but Hamas prioritizes tunnel and rocket construction.

This tweet from 2014 still applies to Hamas’s priorities of putting tunnel building ahead of civilian development:

But a funny thing happened on the way to the tunnel construction — the tunnels are collapsing on Hamas diggers and terrorists. The Times of Israel reports on the latest such incident:

At least three Hamas fighters were injured and five were missing after a tunnel collapsed east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday evening.

A local Palestinian news site, however, reported that seven members of Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, were hurt, one seriously and the rest moderately, after the terror tunnel caved in.

The collapsed tunnel was the eleventh reported incident of its kind since the beginning of the year….

Earlier this week, a tunnel collapse in Gaza killed a commander with Hamas’s military wing on Monday….

The collapse came days after another tunnel collapse near Rafah killed two people. Since January 10 tunnels have caved in and 14 people have been killed, according to Hamas figures….

Jerusalem says it is working on a secret technological solution to the problem. When asked if Israeli forces were causing the tunnel collapses earlier this year, an IDF commander would only say “God knows.”

This video is from late January 2016:

There has been plenty of speculation that Israel has some secret way of collapsing the tunnels, and it has stoked fear within Hamas ranks, the Jerusalem Post reported earlier this month:

Hamas operatives are afraid to enter underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip fearing they will collapse, The Jerusalem Post has learned from Palestinian sources….

Official reports, both in Israel and Gaza, describe collapses caused by recent storms and heavy rains. However, among Hamas and others, there are many who believe Israel is responsible.

Hamas operatives have seen Israeli activities near the border fence against tunnels and fear they are connected to the tunnel collapses. Some of the activists have even spoken of the methods Israel is supposedly using to cause the collapses.

One operative claimed Israel is using liquid explosives, while another operative expressed fears of Israel’s ability to cause localized earthquakes, which could also collapse the tunnels.

Hamas has mentioned the IDF’s elite combat engineering corps unit, which has special anti-tunnel measures, and the Oketz canine unit, which sends trained dogs into the tunnels.

Hamas can build all the tunnels it wants, but the thing it has no interest in doing is building a nation, and that’s the self-inflicted tragedy of the Arabs of the former British Mandate of Palestine, as I wrote in late July 2014, One People built tunnels, the other a nation:

Just think what could have been.

Israel left Gaza in 2005. The vast international aid that flowed to Gaza could have been used to build the foundation of a nation.

Instead it was put to building tunnels and rocket infrastructure.

Rather than forging economic ties with the world, it forged military ties with Iran and Hezbollah to achieve the goal of the Hamas charter — the destruction of Israel.

Meanwhile, Israel continued to build a nation, becoming one of the high tech capitals of the world.

That could have been Gaza, where the people obviously have tremendous skills and ingenuity. But it was a choice that was not made.


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I wonder if the tunnel collapses have anything to do with the Egyptian decision to flood them? Sand is not stable, and the surrounding sand will create cavities wherever water flow leaked out of the seams in a tunnel.

Better living through superior engineering.

    Milhouse in reply to Valerie. | March 21, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    No, these tunnels are into Israel, not into Egypt, and they’re not near the sea. The water the Egyptians are pumping along the old “Philadelphia corridor” can’t be causing these collapses.

If the tunnels can be located, the solution is fairly cheap and effective. Combine a ditch witch directional boring machine and a container of propane. Punch a hole in the tunnel, fill with propane, strike a spark. Repeat until the tunnel is gone.

Finding them is most probably the hard part. Ground penetrating radar can only go so far.

One of the fun things the Egyptians have been doing indeed is, as Valerie points out, pumping sea water into the grounds around the tunnels. Either the tunnels fill with sea water (Mahmoud really needs to learn to swim) or the earth collapses, often taking the tunnel with it.

What people in the west don’t often hear (we do report on this at Rantburg, where I moderate) is that the Egyptian government, and many of the Egyptian people, despise the Gazans and the Hamas movement. They understand clearly that Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood were joined at the hip. Hamas has been ‘allowing’ guns to move from Gaza to the hands of the terrorist groups roaming the Sinai. The Egyptian army is hunting them down and in the process has been collapsing and flooding tunnels to make Hamas pay.

Most Egyptians understand what the Muslim Brotherhood did to their country in the short time the Brotherhood controlled it. Payback is going on in the Sinai.

casualobserver | March 19, 2016 at 11:43 pm

I’m sure there will be a way to pin some or most of the blame on Israel for this. Using current domestic events (U.S.), the logic probably follows this example:
>> Israel blames Hamas and holds them accountable for their actions. That means they are using “words” that pro-Palestinians find offensive (around the globe and locally).
>> Hamas and others feel more compelled to strike out (words can hurt, after all.)
>> Tunnels are built. Violence increases.
>> Damn you Israel! Your words have caused all of this!

(Analogy is the disruption of Trump events.)

Airborne Side-Scan radar is pretty good at locating solid objects under quite a bit of sand. It is often used in archaeological surveys in deserts.

Sea water is MUCH cheaper than H.E. or propane.

    forksdad in reply to Bruce_in_Oz. | March 20, 2016 at 9:37 am

    They might be messing wit their water tables. I would use desalinization first and continually pump the water in. You might wind up with a nice green belt. No tunnels, more water. Win-win.

I call it Karma!

legacyrepublican | March 21, 2016 at 2:06 am

We could use anti-tunnel technology in Nogales and San Diego too.

The solution is to bore tunnels under Hamas areas and…well, return the favor.

Karma is a bitch:

buckeyeminuteman | March 22, 2016 at 1:01 pm

I wish our gov was as good at finding the tunnels under our southern border and demolishing them too.