The Gaza “subway” used by Hamas eliminated some of the Israeli military’s technological advantages. What do we know?

(CNN) – The countless tunnels under Gaza are known as corridors used to smuggle goods from Egypt and launch attacks on Israel, but there is a second underground network that the Israeli military colloquially calls the “Gaza Metro.”

The Gaza Metro is a vast labyrinth of tunnels, several kilometers underground, some say, used to transport people and goods; missile depots and ammunition depots; It hosts Hamas command and control centers, all out of sight of Israeli army planes and reconnaissance drones.

As of 2021, Hamas claimed to have built 500 kilometers (311 miles) of tunnels under Gaza, although it is unclear whether this number is accurate or just a lie. If true, Hamas’s underground tunnels would be just under half the length. City metro system.

It is unclear how much the tunnel network cost Hamas, which rules the impoverished coastal enclave, and that figure is likely high, both in terms of labor and capital.

Tunnels have been an attractive tool of warfare since the Middle Ages, and today they provide armed groups like Hamas with an advantage in asymmetric warfare, negating some of the technological advantages of a more advanced military like the IDF.

What makes Hamas’s tunnels different from those of Al Qaeda in the mountains of Afghanistan or the Viet Cong in the jungles of Southeast Asia is that it has built an underground network beneath one of the most densely populated areas on the planet, with nearly two million of people. they live in an 88-square-mile area that makes up Gaza City.

“Tunnels are always difficult to deal with, don’t get me wrong, in any context, even when you’re in a mountainous area,” said Richmond Barrack, a senior fellow at the Lieber Institute for Law and Ground Warfare and the Modern. War Institute at West Point. “Everything is more complex: the tactical aspects, the strategic aspects, the operational aspects and, of course, the protection that we want to guarantee to the civilian population.”

Since the October 7 terrorist attack in Israel in which at least 1,400 people were killed, according to Israeli authorities, the Israeli military has repeatedly said that Hamas is hiding in these corridors “under homes and inside buildings populated by civilians innocent people in Gaza.” they effectively turned them into human shields. Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed more than 7,000 people, according to Palestinian health officials, citing sources in the Hamas-controlled enclave.

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