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Sponge bombs: Israel conducting tests of 'chemical grenades' to seal off Hamas' tunnel networks

Israel is said to be developing “sponge bombs” to combat Hamas through its tunnel network. These bombs create a rapid expansion of foam that subsequently hardens, aiming to disrupt and neutralize the tunnels effectively.

Hamas allegedly has an extensive network of tunnels beneath the sandy coastal strip and its borders. These tunnels are reported to vary in length, spanning hundreds of kilometers, and can reach depths of up to 80 meters.

According to a report by The Telegraph, Israel has been conducting tests on chemical grenades designed to seal off gaps or tunnel entrances used by Hamas operatives.

These grenades are enclosed in a protective plastic container with a metal barrier separating two distinct liquids. Upon activation, these liquids combine and move towards their intended target.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had been observed deploying these devices during exercises in a simulated tunnel system near the Gaza border in 2021.

One of the specialized units responsible for underground operations is Yahalom, a group of elite commandos from Israel’s Combat Engineering Corps, commonly referred to as the “weasels.” Their expertise lies in locating, clearing, and destroying tunnels.

The conflict in Gaza has now reached its 22nd day following a surprise cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Israel.

Since Oct 27th, Israel has intensified overnight bombardment of Gaza and telecommunications has been knocked out. Amid complete phone and internet blackout, emergency services have halted and media outlets have lost touch with their staff.

IDF has also begun targeting underground tunnel networks in Gaza. Israeli Defence forces said on October 28 that their aircraft utilized high-impact “bunker busting” munitions to destroy more than 150 underground targets in Gaza Strip overnight.

(Published 28 October 2023, 17:06 IST)

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