Sources close to Israel’s Defense Ministry recently revealed that Israel is testing new countermeasures to combat terror tunnels near the Gaza border.
The IDF began testing half a dozen new systems and technologies to prevent the newest threat to Israel from across the Gazan border. According to a security source involved with the project, the anti-tunnel systems are a “top priority” for the Defense Ministry.
The tests are being carried out in an undisclosed base in the Negev desert, the security sources told Israel Hayom. The Ministry has enlisted the help of foreign geologists and surveillance experts for the project.
Some of these systems are aimed at locating subterranean movement and cavities, while others detect disturbances above-ground that are caused by tunneling activities.
While the security sources said that headway has been made, they also admit that the systems are not “100 percent operational yet.” Some of the equipment currently being used to continually scan the 65 kilometer (40 mile) desert border with the Gaza Strip is visible, while other equipment is buried.
Last summer, during the 50-day war known as Operation Protective Edge, Hamas militants used four tunnels to infiltrate Israel with the intention of carrying out attacks. These attacks resulted in the death of 12 Israeli soldiers, including the killing of 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin and the abducting of his body.
Since Operation Protective Edge, some Gaza periphery residents have been reluctant to return to their homes. The IDF and Defense Ministry are making a strong effort to restore a sense of security to the residents of the towns and cities near the Gaza border.
“The IDF is doing its job – this is something we know, and is reassurance enough,” said Micky Levy, head of security in the border moshav of Netiv Haasara, a town that borders Gaza and was hard hit by the trauma of last summer’s conflict.
Hamas, as well as the armed wing of the Palestinian Fatah party led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, have both claimed that they are digging new tunnels with the intention of attacking Israel.
Israel has not confirmed that these tunnels cross over into Israeli territory yet. However, IDF Southern Command Chief Major General Sami Turgeman has been outspoken in an effort to convince military command of the pressing need to preemptively destroy the new network of terror tunnels that Hamas is tirelessly rebuilding throughout Gaza.