Defense officials say the terrorist group controlling the Gaza Strip has been stepping up its effort to breach the underground barrier Israel dug on its border with the coastal enclave.
Hamas is accelerating the construction of terror tunnels seeking to breach the underground barrier Israel dug on its border with the coastal enclave, a military official told the Walla news website on Sunday.
In early December, Israel announced the completion of a sensor-equipped underground wall on its side of the Gaza border – a counter-measure developed after Hamas terrorists used tunnels to blindside its troops during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
Stretching 65 kilometers (40 miles), the barrier also includes an aboveground fence, a naval barrier, command and control centers, hundreds of cameras, radars, and sensors, as well as a range of other defenses. Over 140,000 tons of iron and steel were used in its construction, which took over three years to complete.
The aboveground “smart fence” is more than 6 meters (20 feet) high and its maritime barrier includes means to detect infiltration by sea and a remote-controlled weapons system.
Military officials in the Gaza Division told Wallathat while the construction of the barrier was underway, dozens of terror tunnels that crossed into Israel’s territory were exposed.
The majority of Hamas’ grid of terror tunnels was eliminated during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021, when the Israeli Air Force carried out a series of massive raids that destroyed miles of offensive tunnels and killed what the IDF believes to be dozens of Hamas terrorists.
Hamas has vowed to rebuild the labyrinth of underground passageways and has placed its military wing, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, in charge of the effort.
According to the report, some of the terror tunnels Hamas has been trying to build reached the wall, where a terrorist cell is likely to try and breach it using explosives.
Hamas is also likely to “test” the underground wall’s various sensors and radars to devise ways around them, the report said.
“This is a game of cat and mouse,” the report cited a defense official as saying.
“They [Hamas] are still busy studying the IDF’s technological systems. Once they understand how strong it is and that it’s impossible to cross the underground wall, they will look for another path with which to threaten us.”