World View: Gaza Tunnels Make Israeli Ground Offensive Dangerous but Necessary

This morning's key headlines from

  • Gaza tunnels make Israeli ground offensive dangerous but necessary
  • Health workers flee from West Africa as Ebola epidemic spreads

Gaza tunnels make Israeli ground offensive dangerous but necessary

Israel's bombing campaign in Gaza is targeting Hamas military installations, but it is also targeting farms or bare land and even greenhouses. The reason is that the Palestinian militias have learned important lessons in previous wars with Israel and have set up sophisticated defenses in the form of an extensive network of tunnels, some as much as 30 meters deep. 

Over time, Hamas's engineers and diggers -- known by Israel as "spiders" -- gained a great deal of expertise in setting up "underground cities," with bunkers and fortifications, all hooked up to electricity and oxygen. These tunnels can hide thousands of missiles and missile launchers from Israeli spy planes, but that's only one of their purposes.

If Israel wants to achieve its stated goal of getting rid once and for all of Gaza's rocket launching system, it's going to need a ground invasion to clean out all the tunnels and bunkers. 

But then the web of tunnels takes on the even deadlier purpose of trapping Israeli soldiers entering Gaza, according to a Hamas leaflet: 

The Qassam Brigades’ strong point is if Israel decides to launch a ground offensive, it would transform its soldiers from hunters to hunted, sitting ducks caught in a crossfire, as a result of the careful planning, preparations, surveillance, identification of the enemy’s weak points and use of the element of surprise to confound the Israelis and decimate them in gun battles with fighters who would prove their superior fighting ability.

These tunnels, dug under every street and alley in Gaza, constitute a strength to be exploited by the brigades to exacerbate the Israeli military’s confusion and create security concerns that the army will be unable to deal with. This will lead to a fundamental problem that compels it to modify its rules of engagement with Hamas.

The tunnels also pose a threat to rural communities in Israel along the border with Gaza. There are dozens of tunnels that can be used by Hamas to infiltrate Israel and kill or abduct civilians and soldiers. Al-Monitor and Jerusalem Post and Al-Monitor

Health workers flee from West Africa as Ebola epidemic spreads

Health workers on the front line of the spreading Ebola epidemic in western Africa are returning home from their assignments. The Ebola virus continues to spread rapidly in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, with 44 new cases and 21 deaths in the last three days, bringing the total to 888 cases and 539 deaths since February. 

Health workers are being disproportionately affected, because they're the ones who care for the sick patients, and yet they are not provided with even the most basic supplies, such as gloves. Without gloves, a person touching an Ebola patient is likely to contract Ebola himself. There are accusations that the little money being allocated to fight Ebola is being pocketed by executives and bureaucrats, with little left for supplies and logistics for the front line health workers. 

This is already the worst Ebola epidemic in history, and if the exodus of health workers continues, the epidemic could become catastrophic for the region. Even so, there's no danger of a worldwide epidemic, since Ebola is only spread through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, as opposed to a virus that can spread through the air. All Africa and Reuters

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Israel, Gaza, Hamas, Qassam Brigades, Ebola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea 

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