Labyrinths of Death: Secret Tunnels and Their Role in Guerrilla Warfare

Subterranean tunnels, “cities” and multi-level caves still remain a powerful and efficient tool in guerrilla warfare. From Lebanon and Syria to Afghanistan these fortification systems have repeatedly been weaponised against foreign and government conventional forces, at the same time posing a substantial challenge to civilian areas.

Various armed groups have long used hidden networks of underground tunnels as an alternative weapon in order to gain a strategic advantage over their rivals and disrupt their plans.

Israeli Headache: Hezbollah and Hamas-Built Tunnels

In December 2018 the israel Defence Forces (IDF) conducted Operation Northern Shield aimed at neutralising cross-border tunnels built by Hezbollah militants. The tunnels connecting Lebanon to the Jewish state were reportedly used for transferring militants and weapons by Hezbollah, designated as a terrorist organisation by Tel Aviv.

According to the IDF, the Shiite militant group has constructed subterranean passages running from Lebanon to israel since the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War.

Thus, one of the tunnels discovered by the Israeli military stretched “from a residential structure in the south of Kafr Kela in Lebanon and reached 40 metres (130 feet) into Israeli territory”, as Ynetnews reported. Being two metres tall and two metres wide the passage included ventilation systems, electricity and piping. The IDF presumed that it took about two years for Hezbollah to create the 200-metre-long…

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