Crossfire War – Israel to Bomb Weapons Tunnel Network – Egypt – Gaza Border

Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – West Asia Theatre: Tehran – Gaza City/Cairo – Jerusalem; Israel Air Force Planning to Bomb Islamic Militant Tunnel Network Along Egypt – Gaza Border – Philadelphi Corridor

Night Watch: PHILADELPHI CORRIDOR – Reuters reports that according to the Israeli daily Maariv, the Israel Air Force (IAF) is seriously considering using precision guided bombs to destroy the tunnel networks being used by Islamic militants to smuggle tons of weapons into the Gaza Strip. A spokesman for Israel’s military declined to comment saying that private discussions of the Army command level cannot be revealed.

The Maariv article, however, did state, “The plan (as it was presented) includes detailed reference to the proxmity to the Egyptian border and the surrounding population.” This is not much different as Jerusalem’s decision to bomb sections of south Beirut used by Hezbollah and weapons experts from Iran who were in Lebanon to train Hezbollah in the use of their more advanced weapons, like cruise missiles and longer range rockets.[ASHARQALAWSAT]

The targeted area of concentration is known as the Philadelphi Corridor between the Egyptian – Gaza Strip border. Israel has admitted that ever since their withdrawal from Gaza last year they have not been able to control the vast amount of weapons smuggling routinely conducted by Palestinian groups. Though there is no evidence, yet, of the vast amount of weaponry being found among militant groups in the Gaza, it is quite possible the Gaza Strip is not the final destination of the weaponry, which includes shoulder fired missiles. Tehran may actually be using the Philadelphi Corridor and Gaza as nothing more than an underground weapons terminal from Gaza into Iraq. Some could also be in transit meant for Hezbollah’s use during the next wave of fighting against Israel. And since Tehran has had al-Qaeda declare the European UNIFIL forces in Lebanon to be an enemy of Islam, then a lot of the weapons will be used against UNIFIL, even though they are proud of their lack of concern in the massive weapons smuggling Damascus-Tehran have been arranging for Hezbollah in flagrant violation of the arms embargo UNIFIL is supposed to enforce.

It is believed that precison bombs will be Jerusalem’s way of combating the problem instead of a full re-occupation of Gaza. There could be a partial re-occupation as the bombing begins. In the past week Israel has discovered 15 tunnels and the Philadelphi Corridor is only 100 meters (yards) wide and 6.5 miles (11km) long. Recently the Egyptian police seized 195 crates of automatic weapons and ammunition. Maariv mentioned that the IAF has been given the green light to attack the network of tunnels and that a similar bombing campaign destroyed the Islamic militant tunnel network along the Gaza Strip’s northern border with Israel. Jerusalem has been concentrating on destroying the smuggling-tunnel network ever since one if its soldiers was captured on June 25 by Palestinian militants which entered Israel through one of the tunnels.

Israel’s large scale response led to the Hezbollah action in July which captured and killed more Israeli soldiers and that started the 34-day first wave of fighting between Hezbollah – Lebanon/Israel. It is quite possible that when the next IAF attacks begin that Tehran decides to activate Hezbollah in the north to lead the way for Damascus then Tehran to commit units in the name of supporting Palestinian people. The next wave of war will then be under way and over a much larger scale than the first one. Jerusalem will be less restrained next time and with the massive re-supplying that Hezbollah has been able to do, with the full support of Damascus-Tehran, the war will be much more devastating and with more of a regional impact. An impact that will engulf the UNIFIL forces which have been idly spectating as Hezbollah re-supplies.

Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.