Israel considering flooding Hamas’ underground tunnel network with seawater: report


Israel is considering flooding Hamas’ underground network of tunnels in Gaza with ocean water as part of its plan to completely decimate the terrorist group that rules over the Palestinian territory, according to a report.

The Israel Defense Forces assembled at least five pumps that could be used to draw water from the Mediterranean Sea to then flush out the tunnels within a matter of weeks, US officials told the Wall Street Journal.

The military completed the system, built about one mile north of the Al-Shati refugee camp, around the middle of last month, according to the paper. Each pump has the power to move thousands of cubic meters of water per hour into at least 800 tunnels used by Hamas to move through Gaza without detection.

Israel hasn’t decided on whether to deploy the pumps, which could threaten Gaza’s already scarce water supply and infrastructure, the officials said. It’s also unclear if the Jewish nation would flood the tunnels before the release or rescue of the remaining Israeli hostages who are likely being held in the underground paths.

IDF soldier shines his gun line down path of Hamas tunnel
The IDF has not decided whether to move forward with the plan to flood the Hamas tunnels but has not yet ruled it out. AP

US officials who spoke to WSJ said they didn’t know how close Israel was to a decision, but noted it hasn’t ruled it out.

Several questions remain surrounding the feasibility and potential impact of such a plan, the officials said.

“We are not sure how successful pumping will be since nobody knows the details of the tunnels and the ground around them,” a person familiar with the plan told the publication. “It’s impossible to know if that will be effective because we don’t know how seawater will drain in tunnels no one has been in before.”

Hole with ladder down it leading to Hamas tunnel
The salt water flood has the potential to negatively impact Gaza’s already very limited water supply as well as infrastructure above groud. via REUTERS

It’s also unclear what effect the seawater through the tunnels could have on Gaza’s very limited supply of clean water or infrastructure that sits above the underground passages.

“It’s hard to tell what pumping seawater will do to the existing water and sewage infrastructure. It is hard to tell what it will do to groundwater reserves. And it’s hard to tell the impact on the stability of nearby buildings,” Jon Alterman, senior vice president at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, told WSJ.

Gazans rely on three Israeli pipelines for clean water, but the war has caused one to shut down and the other two to limit operations. Palestinians in the territory are now getting just three liters of water a day — one-fifth of the daily minimum recommended by the UN, the paper reported.

Flooding the tunnels could also pollute the soil with hazardous materials from inside the tunnels, compounding the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza caused by the war.

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