judean desert 248.88.
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Acting on intelligence, the IDF recently raided a mountainous area in the Judean Desert filled with caves that lead to underground tunnel networks and have been used as training camps for Hamas operatives in the West Bank, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The raid was carried out earlier this summer by the Etzion Brigade, under the command of Col. Eran Makov, and after receiving intelligence from the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) regarding Hamas activities in the cave-filled desert area.
"It is like the Tora Bora of the West Bank," a senior Central Command officer said, in reference to the cave complex situated in eastern Afghanistan and suspected to have been a hideout for Taliban and al-Qaida fighters.
During the raid, the IDF discovered a few remnants of military training, including empty bullet casings and cartridges, another senior officer said.
The IDF believes that Hamas would use the area to train a few fighters at a time as part of an effort to retain military skills despite the Israel and Palestinian Authority crackdown on the terror group's West Bank infrastructure.
While underground tunnel systems are mostly used by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, in recent years the IDF has noted an increase in the use of tunnels and underground caves by terror operatives in the West Bank.
Last October, the IDF discovered a massive 150-meter long tunnel in Hebron that was packed with explosives. The tunnel was being dug in the general direction of Route 35 near Tarkumiya.
In 2007, the IDF uncovered a network of tunnels in the Nablus Casba used by terrorists to hide and to launch attacks against IDF troops.