Israeli Forces Seek Tactical Edge with Foam-Based Weaponry against Terror Tunnels

In a strategic move to counteract the persistent threat posed by Hamas militants in the extensive underground tunnel network beneath Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are set to employ an innovative weapon system. According to reports from The Telegraph, this new weapon, known as the “sponge bomb,” is poised to revolutionize Israel’s counter-terrorism efforts.

Hamas, responsible for a devastating terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 1,400 Israelis and left over 5,300 wounded in a shocking assault earlier this month, is the primary target of this tactical advancement. The sponge bomb, having undergone training exercises over the past two years, is a chemical explosive that, upon detonation, undergoes a rapid expansion process, transforming into a foam-like substance that swiftly solidifies.

The significance of the sponge bomb lies in its capability to effectively seal off sections of the intricate tunnel network, making it exceedingly difficult for Hamas militants to ambush Israeli forces moving through Gaza.

These specialist devices are contained within plastic containers, featuring a metal partition that separates two distinct liquids. Once this barrier is removed, the compounds combine as the soldier positions the “bomb” or propels it further into the tunnel.

To locate the underground tunnels, IDF engineering experts employ a range of sophisticated methods, including ground and aerial sensors, ground-penetrating radar, and specialized drilling systems.

However, it is crucial to note that working with sponge bombs poses significant hazards, with reports of some soldiers suffering injuries, including blindness, due to mishandling the liquid mixture.

John Spencer, a former U.S. major who chairs urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point, underscores the unique challenges of underground warfare. He describes it as more akin to combat underwater than within a conventional building, emphasizing the need for specialized equipment to see, breathe, navigate, map the subterranean space, communicate effectively, and deploy lethal means.

The deployment of sponge bombs marks a determined effort by the IDF to confront the specific challenges posed by Hamas militants and their extensive underground tunnel network, a development that may significantly alter the dynamics of conflict in the region.