By the end of Operation Protective Edge in August 2014, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) claimed to have discovered and destroyed more than 30 tunnels spanning from beneath Gaza into Israeli territory. Hamas officials have praised these tunnels as an innovative approach to fighting an asymmetric war with a far more conventionally powerful Israel. The purpose of this case study is to examine the complexity of Hamas’ vast tunneling network by assessing the motivations behind the group’s decision to construct the network, to identify the factors that enabled Hamas to engage in such a complex engineering task, and to assess the level of effectiveness of the tunnel network both strategically and tactically against the IDF.
Since the IDF’s discovery and detonation of 32 terror tunnels dug by Hamas in Gaza beneath Israeli territory during the course of Operation Protective Edge (2014), the Israeli security agencies are concerned by the potential threat of tunnels across the border with Lebanon and Syria. The ISIS branch in Sinai ‘Vilayet Sinai’ (former Ansar Beit al Maqdis)and jihadi groups in Gaza strip can use tunnels to infiltrate into Israel or “tunnel bombs” against Israeli positions along the borders. Israel has to be ready to deal with sub terrain threats along all its borders and to find technological and operational solutions to the sub terrain strategic threats.