IDF engineering forces in the Gaza Strip found laboratories with weapons systems that were unknown to the Israeli security system, including rockets built with a different technology than what was known to Israel until now.
The IDF spokesman revealed on Wednesday that during an operation of the 460th Brigade’s fighters to locate and destroy underground infrastructure, several tunnel shafts were discovered, and a headquarters of Hamas was destroyed by the brigade’s engineering forces.
The IDF also revealed that during the operation of a Nahal Brigade combat team, the troops raided a Hamas training post in the northern Gaza Strip.
Tunnels were located under the outpost and, after their discovery, the shafts in the outpost were destroyed.
According to the IDF, it is evident that Hamas prepared for a prolonged stay in the tunnels by connecting them to water and oxygen depots.
The IDF Engineering Corps operates on three levels in the Gaza Strip.
An engineering tools formation, which has heavy engineering tools including D9 Caterpillars used to open the routes and destroy Hamas infrastructure and buildings.
The maneuvering formation includes forces moving in Puma armored engineering vehicles (APCs) which are carrying breaching devices and explosives. Its role is to deal with mines and booby-traps through a unique ability to destroy infrastructure above and below ground.
The last formation is the special ops Yahalom (diamond) unit, which has a dedicated commando qualification and handles engineering problems such as defusing ammunition in the field and dealing with underground tunnels.
The IDF said that during the operations in the Gaza Strip, several incidents and failures occurred that led to lessons learned on the ground and that its forces learn from such incidents in real-time.
The army also said that Hamas invested most of its resources in recent years in building tunnels, as the organization cannot stand up to the IDF in face-to-face battles and, therefore, goes underground.
The IDF attacked some of the tunnels from the air and, as the forces entered deeper into the strip and the level of friction rose, Hamas members started using the organization’s tunnels more.
In this way, the Hamas infrastructure gets increasingly exposed, which creates opportunities for the IDF to systematically destroy tunnels.
The Gaza Strip has a large number of shafts, tunnels that connect to others, and underground weapons depots.
The IDF is working on analyzing the routes of the tunnels in cooperation with the intelligence agencies.
Locating the tunnels, neutralizing them, and entering underground are operations that take time, and one of the goals of the war is to destroy the underground infrastructure so there will be no way around IDF soldiers operating inside the tunnels as well.
The IDF says that there are units that can also fight underground, depending on the mission and the decision of the commanders in the field.
Itay is a military correspondent for KAN 11.