The IDF is prepared for the possibility that in a future conflict with Hamas it will be ordered by the government to take over the Philadelphi Corridor in the southern Gaza Strip, which is lined with hundreds of weapons smuggling tunnels, defense officials said on Sunday.
Plans for such an operation have been drawn up and would likely include the deployment of several units in the southern Gaza town of Rafah and along the 14-kilometer strip of land called the Philadelphi Corridor under which Hamas has dug several hundred tunnels that are used to smuggle weapons and explosives into the Strip.
Such a plan was presented to Ehud Olmert’s government ahead of last winter’s Operation Cast Lead. At the time though, the government deemed such an operation too costly in IDF casualties. In addition, there was concern that such an operation would force the IDF to retain a long-term presence in Gaza, something the government did not want.