How Israeli secret weapon dubbed the ‘sponge bomb’ can turn Gaza ‘terror metro’ tunnels into Hamas’s own worst nightmare | The Sun

ISRAELI troops are reportedly preparing to use "sponge bombs" when they battle their way through Hamas's underground labyrinth of tunnels.

Israel's military has been testing their new "secret weapon" – a chemical creation that explodes foam to seal off openings inside Gaza's "terror metro".

As Israel's full-scale ground invasion of the Gaza Strip looms, questions are being raised over how the IDF will face Hamas's 311-mile boob-trapped maze of mysterious underground tunnels.

Hidden up to 100ft below the surface, the intricate city of passages is full of dark twists and turns, laden with traps and heavily reinforced with concrete.

The entrances are enclosed under the floors of homes, mosques and schools – allowing the terrorists to move unseen through Gaza and evade Israeli airstrikes.

This "spiderweb" is where Hamas terrorists dragged some 200 Israeli hostages into as they retreated following their bloody cross-border rampage on October 7.

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Soldiers will be ordered into the hellish rat-runs and military experts fear a bloodbath awaits them.

And yet, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) may have a novel "secret weapon" on their hands that will help them in their deadly underground mission.

The IDF have not officially commented on their use of "sponge bombs", however they are said to be currently testing the devices, The Telegraph reports.

IDF soldiers were first seen using the devices in 2021 as they practised inside their mock tunnel system at the Tze’Elim army base – close to Gaza's border.

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While engaged in tunnel warfare, the "sponge bomb" should prevent Israeli troops from being ambushed by Hamas fighters as they move through the dense burrow system.

They can set off the "bomb" which will spray foam that rapidly expands and hardens – sealing off any entrances Hamas could emerge out from.

Two liquids are held inside a plastic container separated by a metal divider and once this is removed – poof, the foamy mess explodes.

The snag is that the liquid emulsion troops will be heaving through claustrophobic tunnels is potentially hazardous and some soldiers have allegedly lost their sight from mishandling it.

Plans detailed in an intelligence dossier seen by The Sun reveals the Israeli assault on the warren will start with the dropping of bunker-buster Massive Ordnance Penetrator bombs.

But the blitz will not be enough to take out every Hamas hiding place — and will need to be followed by waves of the IDF's specially trained Subterranean Combat Teams.

They will be armed with ground and aerial sensors, radar, drilling systems and night vision goggles.

The specialist troops will be fighting an enemy that will lie in wait in hidden command posts and living quarters, encased in reinforced concrete up to 40ft below the blitzed streets.

It comes as Israel declared it is ready for the "next stage of war".

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country is "getting prepared" and claimed his military had already "eliminated thousands of terrorists".

He vowed to do everything in his power to return hostages back to their families before launching their ground offensive, adding he will not be providing details of "when and how" the attack will take place.

However, Washington has reportedly told Israel to delay their attack.

US officials allegedly tried to persuade IDF forces to hold off until they can deliver a dozen advanced air defence systems to the region to protect their troops, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The US was also said to be fearful that the IDF is not yet ready to take on Hamas in the matrix of tunnels underneath the strip.

And yet, Netanyahu has appeared to defy their request as he vows to push ahead with the invasion soon and "extract the full price from those murderers".

Meanwhile, Israel's ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, warned the operation against Hamas will be complicated and costly – especially when it comes to tunnel warfare.

"Hamas used all the humanitarian aid that went into Gaza in the last few years to build this underground tunnel city," she told Sky News.

"Every tunnel cost $3m [£2.5m] – altogether, Israel exposed over 30 tunnels.

"$100m [£82m] in humanitarian aid could have been supplied to the Gaza people – but no, Hamas created this war machine, this horrific underground metro."

An intelligence expert also told The Sun that the only way to destroy the maze of tunnels will be to bombard them from the air, before storming in all guns blazing.

Dr Matthew Levitt, a counter-terrorism expert from The Washington Institute, said that the result will be brutal – but it must be done.

He explained that the tunnels provide Hamas the chance to carry out "sophisticated ambushes" of the IDF, and that Israel needs to attack key parts from the air before storming in on the ground.

"It's not something that can't be overcome. It helps explain a lot of the aerial bombardment that you've seen over the past 2 weeks.

"The Israelis are trying to take out as much munitions, certain types of munitions, but also key parts of the tunnel as possible."

It comes as an Israeli grandmother released by Hamas on Monday shared the "hell" she went through while imprisoned in the "spider web" of tunnels.

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, held on for two weeks at the hands of Hamas terrorists who kept her deep underground with other terrified captives.

Last night, a swarm of Israeli tanks stormed into northern Gaza last night to "prepare the battlefield".

The IDF said today that a column of tanks, troops and bulldozers wiped out "numerous" Hamas terrorist cells during their hours-long "targeted raid" overnight.

After two weeks of devastating airstrikes, footage showed Israel's bulldozers clearing the way for armoured vehicles to cross the border before a huge column of tanks roll down a road.

Tanks can then be seen firing on several targets "in preparation for the next stages of combat".

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It follows with a huge plume of smoke pouring into the night sky as Israeli troops blast a target near a built-up area.

Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry said that at least 750 people were killed over the past 24 hours, adding that the number of Palestinians killed since October 7 had reached 7,000.

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