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Discover Israeli Army's Yahalom Special Forces Unit: A Key Player in Gaza Underground Warfare

The Yahalom Unit, a Special Forces unit of IDF (Israel Defence Forces) Combat Engineering Corps, has been intensively engaged in underground warfare, particularly in the Gaza Strip. Trained to tackle unique engineering tasks, the unit specializes in handling underground terror tunnels and performing specialized sabotage operations.
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The underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip are a significant threat for Israeli soldiers.   (Picture source IDF)

The Yahalom Unit's extensive responsibilities encompass a wide range of critical tasks, including demolition and explosion of structures, sabotaging enemy infrastructure, explosives management, bomb preparation, neutralizing enemy devices, clearing complex minefields, and the crucial destruction of terror tunnels. In their mission to minimize risk to human life, the unit frequently utilizes robots and remote-controlled devices.

Since the tragic events of October 7, 2023, the Yahalom Unit has been operating tirelessly. Their rigorous 16-month training equips them with vital skills for these challenging times, such as minefield clearance, explosives neutralization, underground tunnel warfare, controlled detonations, and using advanced IDF technology to ensure safe operational routes within Gaza.

In response to the tactics used by Hamas terrorists during the Nova Music Festival Massacre, where hidden explosives were placed in vehicles and fields to target IDF rescue forces, the Yahalom teams have been instrumental in searching for and neutralizing these threats. This action has been pivotal in ensuring the safety of both forces in the field and civilians during rescue operations.

Underground warfare poses another significant threat, with Hamas operatives utilizing tunnels for discreet movement, invasion attempts into Israel, and weapons storage and transportation. To counter this, Yahalom soldiers and specialized teams within IDF's reconnaissance battalions receive extensive training in combat operations within terrorist tunnels, using simulators modeled on real-life attack tunnels used by Hamas and Hezbollah.

The Yahalom Unit specializes in navigating the extensive network of underground tunnels utilized by Hamas, estimated to span about 300 miles (approximately 483 kilometers), primarily for smuggling military and strategic materials. Hamas has historically used these tunnels to circumvent Israeli surveillance and transport weaponry, including rockets, for unexpected assaults on Israel.

The complexity of the Yahalom Unit's task has been likened to searching in the dark. The tunnel network enables Hamas to launch unforeseen attacks against Israel, and the technologies effective for Israel on the surface prove significantly less useful in subterranean settings. Hamas fighters use these tunnels to evade Israeli forces.

Citing military experts, the underground network for Hamas. is an efficient method for concealing and protecting capabilities, employing asymmetric warfare tactics. This includes avoiding direct confrontation, using the element of surprise in attacks, and then swiftly retreating to preserve their resources, forming a core strategy of Hamas.

Additionally, the Yahalom Unit plays a vital role in clearing safe routes for military advancements. They confront the hazardous tactics of Hamas, who often rig roads with explosives, posing dangers to both soldiers and civilians. The unit employs engineering tools and armored vehicles, like the renowned D9, to neutralize explosives and ensure safe passage for military forces.

Hamas Israel War 2023

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