Fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah train in the village of Armati (Associated Press)

The French newspaper "Liberation" said that since the 1980s, Hezbollah in Lebanon, with the help of North Korea, has been building an underground defense system in anticipation of an Israeli invasion, and has indeed established an underground military network more advanced than the one in the Gaza Strip, hundreds of kilometers long and has Branches reach Israel and may reach Syria.

The newspaper explained - in a report written by Lawrence Defrano - that when Hezbollah announced its support for the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) with the beginning of the Israeli bombing of Gaza, it broadcast on the “X” platform a video clip that represents a nightmare for Israel, which is a fake attack in the Galilee carried out by an elite unit.” Al-Radwan" through a tunnel from Lebanon.

The newspaper reported that the Palestinian groups that took refuge in Lebanon in the early 1960s began digging when they were carrying out missile attacks and incursions into northern Israel, and that Hezbollah took over the task after that, according to General Olivier Basso, assistant researcher at the Strategic Research Institute of the Military School and head of the Previous contact with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

General Basso explained that drilling in southern Lebanon is not like digging in sand and laying concrete, as Hamas did to create the “Gaza Metro,” which has nearly a thousand kilometers of tunnels. Rather, drilling in southern Lebanon is manually digging rocks with drilling machines or hydraulic machines, and estimates indicate that On average, each worker can dig about 15 meters per month.

Korean experience

The “Alma” Research Center in Israel is investigating, based on open sources, what it called in a report published in 2021 “the land of tunnels.” According to its researchers, Hezbollah, after the Second Lebanon War in 2006, created a defensive plan to confront the Israeli invasion, which includes dozens of centers. Operations equipped with underground networks and tunnels linking important centers in Beirut, the Bekaa and the South, in which the cumulative length of the tunnels reaches several hundred kilometers.

In an interview with The Times of Israel last January, Tal Perry, one of Alma’s directors, confirmed that “there is evidence that North Korea, which has historical experience in digging tunnels in mountainous and rocky areas, helped Hezbollah.” In Lebanon, the party has also established civilian companies that are said to be digging tunnels, and the United States has already imposed sanctions on the Lebanese environmental non-governmental organization “Greens Without Borders” on charges of covering up the construction of underground warehouses and ammunition storage tunnels.

After the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah established a defensive plan to confront the Israeli invasion, which includes dozens of operations centers equipped with underground networks, and tunnels linking important centers in Beirut, the Bekaa, and the south, with the cumulative length of the tunnels reaching several hundred kilometers.

According to the newspaper, Israeli researchers have identified the presence of “nearby tunnels,” which are simple corridors that allow Hezbollah forces to carry out attacks on Israeli camps, and broader “tactical tunnels” designed to allow the launching of ballistic missiles from underground. Alma also indicated the presence of “ Explosive tunnels” under strategic points, which are filled with explosives that can be ignited at the right moment to cause earthquakes and landslides.

In 2018, Israel announced that it had discovered 6 “attack tunnels” about 40 meters deep below the Blue Line that represents the border with Lebanon. They are hundreds of meters long and have not yet reached the surface. Olivier Basso says, “I believe their location was determined by acoustic sensors.” Digging it requires very complex work over several weeks.”

Researcher Jean-Loup Semaan confirmed, in an article published in 2015, that “Hezbollah and the Iranians have built tunnels and hideouts in the region over the past two years, which in the long run could be of great value in the event of a new conflict with the Israeli army.”

Underground challenges

The newspaper pointed out that the Israeli ground attack that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is threatening if Hezbollah’s missile attacks on northern Israel do not stop, will be faced - as is the case in Gaza - with a well-equipped secret army and a constant and invisible threat, and this explains the opposition of the military and intelligence. The strategic specialists of the Israeli emergency government like this attack.

Liberation linked the postponement of the final ultimatum that was given to Hezbollah last January until the end of this February, to the challenges of underground fighting, and what it requires of engineering specialists, specialized units, and military divers trained in caves, who are able to remove mines in difficult places. Including the evacuation of casualties.

As in the case of Gaza, where Israeli forces were reported to have destroyed only a small portion of the tunnel network, destruction may not be a primary objective. Rather, the ignition of explosives or the spread of gas or water from tunnel to tunnel over a very long distance could neutralize these tunnels. As for the “sponge bombs” promised by the Israelis, which are capable of releasing a large amount of expanding foam without exploding, they exist only in the heads of their strategists, according to the newspaper’s conclusion.

Source: Liberation