Ground-breaking progress in detection, destruction of Gaza terror tunnels

By combining the skills of all three fronts - engineering, intelligence and technology - the laboratory has proved success in locating and destroying five terrorist tunnels in recent months.

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April 15, 2018 17:00
2 minute read.

Behind the scenes of IDF's tunnel technology lab (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

Behind the scenes of IDF's tunnel technology lab (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

 
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A technological lab, which was established two years ago, is making rapid progress in developing technologies for the location and destruction of terrorist tunnels that reach from the Gaza Strip into Israel, the IDF announced on Sunday.

The best minds in the fields of physics, engineering, geology, intelligence and land technology have been working tirelessly in the Gaza division to make the vision of locating and destroying terror tunnels easily a reality.

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In order to locate tunnels, technological, intelligence and operational efforts have to be combined. The technological lab uses innovative, ground-breaking research to improve existing technologies and develop new innovations, among them techniques to scan space cells and their activity and improve mapping techniques that match the specific challenges of tunnels.

The laboratory personnel has worked closely together with engineers, intelligence forces and other units in the field which execute the process from the location to the destruction of the tunnel.

The IDF has also been building a ground-breaking underground barrier across the entire border with the Hamas-run enclave. Construction of the barrier is expected to cost over NIS 3 billion and be completed within two years.

The underground barrier is made from bentonite and is combined with large iron cages with a system of advanced sensor and monitoring devices to detect tunnels. On top of the underground barrier, a six-meter-high aboveground fence will be built to prevent anyone from crossing above ground.

To build the underground barrier, the army is using a German hydromill, a powerful drill that can destroy anything that crosses its path as it digs down into the ground. Once it reaches the depth believed by the army to be deep enough, the area is filled with the bentonite, a clay-like mineral that expands and turns into an adhesive when it comes into contact with water.



According to officials familiar with the construction of the barrier, the IDF knows when the bentonite comes into contact with a tunnel because the bentonite drains into it, effectively destroying it.

"Since the laboratory was established, we have created very unique processes in order to detect, locate, map and destroy tunnels," one of the lab soldiers said.

"What happens is that soldiers go out to survey suspicious areas and provide the raw data. From this data we can extract graphs and detect irregularities or violations in the ground, which is how we actually locate a tunnel.

"When we detect something unusual, we send soldiers back to carry out follow-up operations with other technologies in order to prove conclusively that a tunnel exists," he added.

By combining the skills of all three fronts - engineering, intelligence and technology - the laboratory has proved success in locating and destroying five terrorist tunnels in recent months.

The lab recently received a certificate of excellence from the Land Technology Division of the Technology and Logistics Division.


Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.

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