Israel-Palestine conflict: Reports indicate seawater flooding of Gaza tunnels under consideration
Israel's move could force Hamas militants out but risks contaminating Gaza's drinking water and causing harm to infrastructure, reports WSJ
In a strategic move, Israel is reportedly considering the deployment of a sophisticated network of pumps to flood tunnels used by the militant group Hamas beneath the Gaza Strip, reports Reuters.
According to U.S. officials cited by the Wall Street Journal, Israel has set up at least five powerful pumps approximately a mile north of the Al-Shati refugee camp. These pumps, capable of moving thousands of cubic meters of water per hour, could render the tunnels inoperable within weeks.
The deployment of such a flooding mechanism is a part of Israel's efforts to dismantle Hamas's terror capabilities. The Wall Street Journal quoted an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) official, who neither confirmed nor denied the flooding plan, stating, "The IDF is operating to dismantle Hamas’s terror capabilities in various ways, using different military and technological tools."
The report highlights that the decision to implement the flooding plan has not been finalised, with considerations such as the release of hostages still in question. Hamas has previously claimed to have hidden captives "safe places and tunnels.". The IDF's unconventional approach aims to disrupt these hidden networks.
While the U.S. officials acknowledged being informed about the option by Israel last month, the extent to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government is inclined to execute the plan remains uncertain. Israel's Defense Ministry has not provided an official response to requests for comment on the matter as per Reuters.
Israel has not made a final decision to go ahead or rule it out, the officials were cited as saying.