Hamas Tunnel System Rivals Viet Cong’s Cu Chi Underground

A massive tunnel system running from Gaza to the Egyptian border has long served Palestinians as a supply line for everything from livestock and construction materials to stocks of medicine and smuggled electronics equipment. But now, as war rages in the area, the tunnels have become the main route for providing the Hamas terror group with the weapons it needs to fight against Israel.

Dismantling the tunnels in Gaza is a key to winning the war for Israel, which has sworn to eradicate them. But military experts and historians say destroying them will be virtually impossible.

The tunnel system is strikingly similar to the Viet Cong’s infamous Cu Chi tunnels during the Vietnam War. The Viet Cong moved weapons and supplies through their tunnels, and, like Hamas, they hid their top leaders in them as well.

The Viet Cong — a technological underdog to the United States — was able to bridge the firepower gap against a world superpower through sheer cunning and ingenuity. The Cu Chi tunnels were a vast network of underground sleeping quarters, weapon storage facilities, war rooms and fighting positions. Guerrillas dug out makeshift medical facilities beneath the earth, and doctors tended to wounded soldiers in them, often using electricity generated by a bicycle.

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Hamas in the eyes of an expert

Khaled Hroub, author of several books on Hamas, including Hamas: A Beginner’s Guide, talks to Al Jazeera about the organisation’s social and political strengths and explains why he believes Hamas is looking forward to an Israeli ground incursion into the Gaza Strip.

Al Jazeera: Two senior Hamas leaders were recently killed in Israeli air strikes. How will this impact the organisation’s leadership?

Khaled Hroub: Hamas’ leaders are very used to hiding and escaping Israeli attacks. I can’t see this affecting Hamas much. Israel succeeded in assassinating very senior Hamas leaders including Sheikh [Ahmed] Yasin himself, the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, then followed by Abdel Aziz Al-Rantissi who was the main figure in the Gaza Strip.

And yet Hamas continued to rise and succeeded in winning the elections. So I can’t see Hamas being weakened by killing one or two or three or even more leaders in the Gaza Strip.

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