Netanyahu: Unique Technological ‘Breakthrough’ Uncovered Hamas Terror Tunnel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday that Israel recently made a “unique breakthrough” in tunnel-locating technology that helped uncover the latest mile-long “terror tunnel” reaching from Gaza into Israeli territory.
“In recent days Israel has achieved a worldwide breakthrough in the ability to locate tunnels,” Netanyahu said at a press conference. The “unique breakthrough,” he added, “is a solution that no other country in the world possesses.”
Israel has struggled for years with the vexing threat posed by Hamas tunnels, most notably during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 in which Hamas fighters used dozens of tunnels from Gaza to attack Israelis.
The recent tunnel discovery and Netanyahu’s announcement suggest that Israel may now possess the technological edge in the underground battlefield on the Gaza border.
According to a March report on Channel 2 News, Israeli security and defense bodies have long been working in collaboration with the private sector and academics to develop a system that could detect and destroy cross-border tunnels. This effort has been going on since 2004 and, the report claimed, cost the Israeli government over $250 million to date.
The IDF spokesperson’s unit refused to elaborate on the new tunnel location system at this time, telling a journalist that any further information “could play into hostile hands.”
Despite the murky information, the new system has already been dubbed by many Israelis as the “Underground Iron Dome,” referring to Israel’s successful aerial defense system protecting the Gaza border from incoming Hamas rockets.
Following the destruction of the terror tunnel the Hamas’ military wing, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said that “this tunnel is just a drop in the ocean of what the resistance has prepared for the defense of its people and the liberation of holy places, land, and prisoners.” Hamas further claimed that the destroyed tunnel was no longer in use and dated back to before Operation Protective Edge.
“Our working assumption is always that there are more tunnels out there, but we are well equipped to deal with them, to prevent a violent escalation with Hamas, and to ensure that the Israelis living near the Gaza border can go about their lives in safety,” stated a spokesperson for the IDF Southern Command.
The recent tunnel discovery and talk of a new technological breakthrough come at a sensitive time for the Hamas tunnel enterprise. Multiple tunnels have collapsed in recent months, killing the laborers inside, and Palestinian media outlets reported on Monday that the IDF has captured a senior member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades’ tunnel squad.
The man has been identified as 28-year-old Mohammed Jasser, resident of the city Jabaliya inside the Gaza Strip. While it has been verified by the authorities in Gaza that Jassar has indeed been missing for two weeks, Hamas reports on how he ended up in IDF hands are conflicting.
One Hamas statement claimed that Jassar has defected and surrendered himself to the IDF, while another suggested that he was snatched by an elite IDF unit.