Echoes of Vietnam: Israel surprised by Hamas’ advanced tunnel network
By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Israeli military intelligence is facing criticism for failing to comprehend the network of tunnels and other underground facilities built by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
Dan Pollak, co-director of government relations for the Zionist Organization of America, said early estimates of Israel's operation to root out Hamas rockets has diminished the terrorist group's arsenal.
Hamas' 10,000-rocket arsenal is now believed to be half that number.
"We'll see when the war was over," Mr. Pollak said in an interview, "but it is clear that the underground tunnel complex was far more extensive than Israeli military intelligence understood."
Information that Israel Defense Forces reportedly obtained from captured Hamas fighters revealed that the group was planning to use several Gaza tunnels that extend under Israeli territory for a major attack timed with the beginning of the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, on Sept. 24.
The plan called for Hamas fighters to surface from the tunnels in Israel and kill as many people as possible. The plot was first reported by the Israeli newspaper Maariv.
Israel's military operation against Hamas in Gaza has gone on longer than expected because of the discovery of the extensive tunnel network, which is estimated to have cost as much as $2 billion to construct.
Many of Hamas' longer-range rockets have been destroyed, although the Israeli military is looking for other tunnels in Gaza where rockets could be kept.