As the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalates, Israeli forces are planning to employ a unique array of tactics. Among these tactics is the use of an innovative type of bomb referred to as “sponge bombs.” These sponge bombs have the capability to seal off the intricate network of tunnels beneath Gaza without causing explosions.
Former Israeli Military General Describes Extensive Underground Network in Gaza
According to former Israeli military brigadier general Amir Avivi, Gaza is riddled with an underground infrastructure that reaches depths of 40-50 meters. This extensive network includes bunkers, headquarters, storage facilities, and is connected to over a thousand rocket launch sites.
Evolution of Gaza’s Underground Tunnel Network Since the Mid-1990s
Hamas is believed to have begun constructing this tunnel network back in the mid-1990s, and over the years, it has evolved into a complex and multifaceted system. Many of these tunnels run beneath civilian structures and have entry and exit points in civilian areas.
The Varied Dimensions of Gaza’s Extensive Tunnel Network
These tunnels come in diverse forms, with some stretching for hundreds of kilometers and descending as deep as 80 meters below the 360-square-kilometer coastal strip and its surrounding borders.
The Ethical Dilemma Surrounding the ‘Sponge Bomb’ Solution in Tackling Gaza’s Tunnels
The “Sponge Bomb” presents an intriguing solution, but its use raises significant moral concerns. Targeting these tunnels involves a risk to civilian lives, making it a complex challenge for the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) to neutralize threats without endangering innocent people and potentially facing international condemnation.
Understanding the Mechanics and Application of ‘Sponge Bombs’ in the Israel-Gaza Conflict
“Sponge bombs” are explosive devices designed to produce a sudden release of expanding foam that subsequently hardens. The devices are typically encased in protective plastic, with a metal barrier separating two distinct liquids. Upon activation, these liquids mix and move towards their intended target.
In 2021, during exercises conducted in a simulated tunnel system near the Gaza border, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were observed using these devices.
IRIS Drone and MTGR Ground Robot for Tunnel Reconnaissance
Other than “Sponge Bombs,” Roboteam, a technology company based in Israel, has created IRIS, a compact drone that can be thrown and operated remotely. This drone is designed to offer crucial insights and imagery from within the complex tunnel network, specifically tailored for combat scenarios. It can be customized with attachments, including weapons, to enhance its capabilities for addressing potential threats encountered during reconnaissance.
In addition to IRIS, Roboteam has also developed the MTGR (Micro Tactical Ground Robot), which, as reported, is capable of maneuvering through staircases and tight spaces, such as caves.