JERUSALEM (Worthy News)-- Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are waging war -- underground. As tunnels are uncovered on a daily basis, an underground Gaza has emerged complicating efforts in dismantling Hamas infrastructure. Tunnels stretching over 2.5 kilometers long, and costing an estimated $10 million dollars have been discovered and destroyed by the IDF. However, U.S. intelligence officials warn that Israel is underestimating the number and extent of the underground tunnel network.
Analysts point to Israel's timing to hit Hamas' underground infrastructure now, since Hamas is unable to adequately re-supply itself since Egypt has destroyed over 1,300 tunnels that Hamas used to supply itself weapons, arms, and goods.
Steven Emerson, founder and executive director of the Washington-based Investigative Project on Terrorism, told the Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview on Sunday that US intelligence officials believe that Israel is underestimating the number of tunnels.
He said that according to a senior National Security Council official dealing with the Middle East, American satellites – equipped with special high resolution infrared detection technology – have preliminary findings of around 60 tunnels on the Israel-Gaza border.
This number could actually be higher though because it does not include overhead satellite coverage of ground structures that are several stories in height and are impervious to infrared detection, Emerson said.
This information seems to contradict Israeli estimates of remaining tunnels, Emerson said. -- Source
During a tour of the area near the tunnel's discovery, Al-Monitor learned from Palestinian military sources that the passageway lies 20 meters underground, is 2.5 kilometers long, and has a ceiling high enough to accommodate a man of average height. The tunnel is also remarkably wide. Its construction required 800 tons of concrete and cost an estimated $10 million. Some 100 workers toiled on it for more than two years. It was equipped with a communications network and electricity and contained stockpiles of cookies, yoghurt and other foods to allow for stays of several months.
The Palestinian military sources, who asked to remain anonymous, told Al-Monitor that the tunnel was one of the largest military projects in recent years and a long-term endeavor intended for a military operation to be conducted when those who built the tunnel made the decision to launch it. This suggests that the tunnel may have been intended to kidnap Israeli soldiers or for a military attack against the Israeli army, discussed previously in Al-Monitor. -- Source