Images have emerged appearing to show Israeli forces preparing to flood the labyrinth of tunnels used by Hamas under the Gaza Strip with sea water. Israel is said to have completed installing at least five pumps about a mile north of the Al-Shati refugee camp that could move thousands of cubic meters of water per hour – meaning they could flood the 300-mile network of tunnels within weeks.
Their plan would be to drive out the terrorists from the tunnels and make them inoperable by flooding the system with seawater from the Mediterranean Sea. And now, images released by the IDF appear to show scores of Israeli soldiers setting up a series of black pipes on the sandy beaches of Gaza. Video shared by Israeli media also appears to show IDF soldiers working on the pipes while underground.
It emerged on Monday that Israel has assembled a system of large pumps it could use to flood Hamas’s vast network of tunnels under the Gaza Strip with sea water, according to U.S. officials. The tactic would enable Israel to destroy the tunnels and kill any Hamas terrorists hiding within them, the officials told the Wall Street Journal. It was not clear whether Israel would consider using the pumps before all the Israeli hostages captured by Hamas terrorists on October 7 as any move to flood the tunnels would prove fatal for the captives.
Hamas has previously said it has hidden the hostages in ‘safe places and tunnels’. But footage shared by Israeli media appeared to show Israeli soldiers filling up pipes and working on pumps underground. And IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi appeared to confirm the report that Israel aims to flood Hamas’s tunnel network, calling it a ‘good idea’. ‘We are seeing a lot of underground infrastructure in Gaza, we knew there would be a lot. Part of the goal is to destroy this infrastructure,’ Halevi said in response to a question about the report.
He said: ‘We have various ways [to deal with the tunnels], I won’t talk about specifics, but they include explosives to destroy, and other means to prevent Hamas operatives from using the tunnels to harm our soldiers. Therefore, any means which give us an advantage over the enemy that [uses the tunnels], deprives it of this asset, is a means that we are evaluating using. This is a good idea, but I won’t comment on its specifics.’ Pictured: Israeli army Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi.
Israel first informed the United States of the option last month, the paper said, reporting that officials did not know how close Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was to carrying out the plan. An IDF spokesperson declined to comment on the plan to flood the tunnels but told the WSJ: ‘The IDF is operating to dismantle Hamas’s terror capabilities in various ways, using different military and technological tools.’
When asked about the report, a U.S. official said it made sense for Israel to render the tunnels inoperable and that the country was exploring a range of ways to do that. The Hamas terrorists operate in a complex network of reinforced tunnels, some of which are buried up to 40ft underground and all of which could conceal an ambush, be booby-trapped – or worse – filled with explosives and primed to cave in. This means Israel can bomb Gaza all it likes and launch bunker-busting munitions to clear out some tunnels – but the IDF would still need to deploy thousands of troops to sweep through the ‘Gaza Metro’ to neutralize every last Hamas fighter.
But that is no easy task. Subterranean fighting is notoriously lethal work, especially when Israeli soldiers are fighting against heavily armed Hamas terrorists who know every hiding place and have access to a stash of rockets, grenades and guns. One way to avoid what could be a bloodbath for Israeli troops could be to flood the tunnels – and the IDF is considering such a move, according to U.S. officials who spoke to WSJ. The Israeli military told the U.S., its closest ally, of the option last month, prompting a discussion on how feasible it would be and the effect on the environment. U.S. officials said they didn’t know how close Israel was to carrying out the plan, which isn’t being ruled out by Israel.
Whilst a mission aimed at flooding the tunnels underneath Gaza with sea water could wipe out the terrorists hiding there, it would also put the lives of the 138 hostages held captive by Hamas at risk. But it’s not clear if Israel would even consider using the pumps before all the hostages are released. And on top of this, any plan to wipe out the terrorists with a wall of sea water has its setbacks. The weeks long process that it would take to fill the labyrinth of tunnels could enable Hamas gunmen to move out before they are killed. ‘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 said. ‘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.’
It comes as Israel continued to dismiss U.S. calls to temper its ground invasion as Israeli troops began their bloody new phase of the war and pushed into Gaza’s second-largest city where Hamas terrorist leaders are believed to be hiding. Israeli forces were encircling the southern city of Khan Yunis today, fighting terrorists in intense street battles in some of the fiercest combat of the two-month war. The focus of the conflict has shifted to the besieged territory’s south following fierce fighting and bombardment that reduced much of the north to rubble and forced nearly two million people to flee their homes. Read the full story: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12831871/First-images-Israel-preparing-flood-Hamas-tunnels-sea-water-troops-set-pipes-pumps-Gaza.html?ito=msngallery
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