IDF Hails Special Tunnel-Spotting Team

YERUSHALAYIM -

The IDF lifted the veil somewhat over its underground war with Hamas, after announcing the destruction of another terror tunnel on Sunday.

Military officials briefed the media on its specially created “laboratory” for detecting the tunnels, representing a technology years in the making.

The lab operates in the IDF’s Gaza Division and is headed by Captain B, a soldier with training in electrical engineering and chemistry.

“Under him work the best minds in an assortment of technological and research fields, including members of the Ground Forces’ Technology Brigade, physicists, engineers, intelligence personnel and geologists,” the army says.

The military admits that the technology will not completely neutralize the threat—“it’s not an X-ray”—but that this latest tunnel blowup was part of an ongoing campaign which is effectively denying Hamas much of its underground capability. This was the fifth tunnel spotted and destroyed by the IDF in recent months.

The former defense minister and ex-IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon said Sunday that Israel was now the “world leader” in this type of defense, adding that the U.S. has invested $120 million in Israeli-developed technology in this field for application on the Mexican border.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Sunday that the tunnel put out of action over the weekend was the “longest and deepest” underground passage discovered in Israel to date.

A military spokesman said the tunnel was dug by Hamas operatives and was connected to a “miles-long” network of other passages under the Gaza Strip.

“This was clearly a terror tunnel that connected to other tunnels in the Gaza Strip,” he said. “It extended into Israel and violated Israeli sovereignty.” The tunnel reached “dozens of yards” into Israeli territory adjacent to the northern Gaza Strip, near Nahal Oz, the army said, and it was constructed since the 50-day 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas.