IDF inspects Hamas terror tunnel in 2015. (IDF/FLASH90) (IDF/FLASH90)
Hamas terror tunnel
Amos Yadlin

Amos Yadlin, former head of IDF military intelligence. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

In the absence of effective technology against terror tunnels, a preemptive IDF strike against Hamas is essential, a leading security expert advised.

Israel should prepare a “technological response” for Hamas’ tunnel-building in order to give Jerusalem “the breathing room it needs to develop a plan of action against Hamas” while maintaining the calm that has prevailed since the 2014 Gaza war, the director of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) wrote in an analysis on Monday.

“Obviously, if a technology to identify and/or block tunnels is developed and deployed, it will be easier to adopt restraint and build preparedness for the next confrontation,” Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli Air Force general and military attache to the US, said on the INSS site.

Just as the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system “proved its strategic value” in virtually eliminating “the threat of high-trajectory fire in most locations in Israel” with the onset of Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza in the summer of 2014, a similar underground version of the Iron Dome to detect and destroy Hamas’ underground tunnels would “dramatically alter Israel’s opening position in the next conflict,” Yadlin explained. Another conflict with Hamas is inevitable, he stressed.

In the absence of appropriate technology, Yadlin said, a preemptive strike against Hamas tunnel capabilities is “essential,” likely escalating to a “full-blown conflict” in which he recommended Israel act forcefully “to effect a fundamental change in the balance of power and the dynamics between the sides.”

Israel’s Defense Ministry has confirmed that the US budgeted $120 million to aid Israel in developing the appropriate detection technology in order to confront the issue of tunnels, which defense officials said is a threat posed both by Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, The Financial Times reported. Israelis in southern communities have reported hearing the clanking sounds of tunnel excavation over the past couple of months.

In order confront the tunnel threat, IDF Chief of General Staff Gadi Eizenkot said last week, Israel has developed “advanced capabilities,” including some “100 engineering tools,” most of which were “away from the public eye.” According to The New York Times, the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories said 11 Palestinians died in recent weeks as a result of the collapse of at least five tunnels in the Gaza Strip.

The tunnels became a focal point of Operation Protective Edge, with the IDF claiming to have destroyed some 32 of them. The Egyptian military also has been destroying tunnels crossing the border between the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula, with such efforts reportedly increasing in recent months.

By: The Algemeiner