On Monday, the IDF demolished a tunnel, constructed by Islamic Jihad, that stretched from inside Gaza to an Israeli kibbutz. The IDF reportedly used new monitoring technology to detect and locate the subterranean passageway. Yoni Ben Menachem writes:
The tunnel-digging is a large-scale project that employs thousands of people and costs tens of millions of dollars. Hamas and Islamic Jihad receive financial and technological assistance from Iran for the project. A large portion of the financial resources also comes from tax revenues that are supposed to alleviate Gaza’s electricity, water, and employment shortages but are diverted to tunnel-building.
On October 24, 2017, Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza who is also the commander of the organization’s military wing, boasted that [his forces] can now fire in 51 minutes the same number of rockets they fired at Israel during the 51 days of Operation Protective Edge [in 2014]. . . . Hamas and Islamic Jihad see the tunnels into Israeli territory as a “strategic weapon” that deters Israel.
They have adopted a tunnel-digging method taken from the Viet Cong playbook. The aim is to infiltrate Israel by surprise with large forces that will capture territories, attack communities and IDF bases near the Gaza border, and kidnap civilians and soldiers for bargaining purposes. . . . The . . . subterranean offensive [would] take place when Hamas and Islamic Jihad launch a ground and rocket offensive, surprising Israel and establishing a major military advantage in the initial stages of the fighting. . . .
Beyond the eight Palestinian operatives who were killed in the strike on the tunnel, including the commander of Islamic Jihad’s central-Gaza brigade and his deputy, the operation dealt a harsh operational and psychological blow to Islamic Jihad and Hamas. The organizations had portrayed the tunnels as a special weapon for which Israel had no solution.