What is Hezbollah’s complex tunnel system like, much more sophisticated than Hamas’s?

The tunnel project in Lebanon began and developed long before that in Gaza (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo) (Ronen Zvulun/)

The spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had revealed two weeks ago one of the most extensive attack tunnels in the Gaza Strip: a structure of four kilometers long, wide enough to allow the passage of vehicles. It extends from Jabaliya, north of Gaza City, to about 400 meters from the border with Erez, Israel.

The discovery of this extensive tunnel has reignited debate over similar tunnels near and under the Lebanese border. This comes especially amid ongoing clashes with the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist army.

The Israeli-Lebanese border is experiencing its greatest tension since the war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006following an upsurge in aggression by pro-Palestinian militias the day after the outbreak of the war.

Israel deployed more than 200,000 soldiers to its northern border, where violence has also displaced thousands of residents: some 80,000 people have been evacuated from communities in northern Israel and more than 70,000 have fled southern Lebanon.

He tunnel project in Lebanon It began and developed long before that of Gaza. Existing intelligence points to a vast network of tunnels in southern Lebanon, deep and multi-pronged.

At the Alma Research and Education Center, focused on security challenges on Israel’s northern border, researchers have spent years investigating Lebanon’s underworld. Tal Beeri, director of the Alma Research Department and former member of IDF intelligence units, has exposed this underground network based on considerable open source intelligence.

Hezbollah tunnel
Existing intelligence points to a vast network of tunnels in southern Lebanon, deep and multi-pronged

A few years ago, Beeri managed to locate on the Internet a “polygon map” which encompassed what he called the “Land of Tunnels” in southern Lebanon. “The map is marked, by an unknown portion, with polygons indicating 36 geographic regions, cities and towns,” he wrote in a 2021 article. “In our assessment, these polygons mark Hezbollah preparation centers as part of the ‘defense’ against an Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Each local preparation (‘defence’) center has a network of local underground tunnels. An infrastructure of regional tunnels was built between all these centers, interconnected with each other.”

Beeri estimated that the total length of Hezbollah’s tunnel network in southern Lebanon amounts to hundreds of kilometers.

In an interview with The Times of IsraelBeeri highlighted that the discovery of the Jebaliya-Erez tunnel highlighted the need to intensify efforts, especially when considering the sophistication of the infrastructure in Lebanon compared to that of Gaza.

Addressing North Korea’s connection to Hezbollah’s tunnel project, Beeri mentioned that the initial excavation in Lebanon It was done with the help of North Korea in the 1980s and late 1990s. After the second Lebanon war in 2006, the connection continued, and Hezbollah received help from Iran.

Hezbollah obtained the necessary experience and technology from North Korea for 25 years. In 2014, they already had the ability to dig and build tunnels independently. They created civilian companies, owned by Shiites, that were supposedly engaged in civil infrastructure projects, but were actually involved in tunnel construction.

Beeri noted that Hezbollah’s precision-guided missile presence is easily integrated into the tunnel landscape. These missiles, transported on trucks, can be launched from platforms built at the exit of the tunnels, allowing fast, mobile launches that are difficult to track from the air.