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Israel and Gaza's underground battle

Besides constructing an underground wall obstacle to thwart the building of attack tunnels, Israel is also developing technologies to identify tunnel digging from above ground.
A Palestinian militant of the National Resistance brigades, the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), gets out of a tunnel during a graduation ceremony in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on November 4, 2016. / AFP / SAID KHATIB        (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Having already invented, developed and enhanced technology capable of shooting down rockets in flight, Israel is now close to developing technology to locate and identify tunnels dug deep underground with precision that will make it possible to bomb them from the air or neutralize them using other means. It is a breakthrough technology, and Israel has invested billions in it over the past decade. Its purpose is to prevent Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip from having the kind of underground reach that became a tangible threat to Israel during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

Until now, all efforts have failed. This included experiments with underground sensors of various sorts. They were incapable of distinguishing between normal rumblings underground or the movement of heavy machinery and tractors and the actual digging of tunnels dozens of feet underground. Israel seems to have cracked that problem now. The new technology received operational confirmation Oct. 30 when 19 Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas activists in Gaza were killed, according to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) estimates, when an Islamic Jihad tunnel was bombed. The tunnel had already penetrated Israeli territory and threatened to become a terrorist tunnel.

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