Sixty-seven days into the Israel-Hamas war, Israel has begun flooding the Hamas network of tunnels with seawater, "The Wall Street Journal" reports, according to US officials briefed on the Israeli military’s operations. Israel's Ministry of Defense declined to comment when contacted by the US newspaper but did not deny anything. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense said, "The tunnel operations are classified."
This is an additional step being taken by Israel in its efforts to clear and destroy the tunnels as well as attacking them and blowing them up with explosive charges. Israel's aim is to thwart Hamas terrorists who use the tunnels for surprise attacks on the IDF, to maneuver their fighters across Gaza and transfer Israeli hostages from place to place, in accordance with the progress of IDF forces.
One of the advantages of flooding the Hamas tunnels with seawater, which "The Wall Street Journal" estimates extend over 300 miles, is that it more easily deals with the thick blast doors that Hamas has placed in the tunnels, which limit progress. Moreover, there are booby-trapped tunnels that cost soldiers' lives.
"The Wall Street Journal" estimates that Israel has control of some 40% of the Gaza coastline, which allows it to undertake the flooding with seawater. At the same time, the report adds, Israel is dealing with the tunnels using dogs, robots, drones and liquid explosives.
Israel has not invented the method of dealing with tunnels by using seawater. In 2015, Egypt, which was enraged by Hamas links with ISIS in Sinai, decided to flood the tunnels beneath the Gaza-Sinai border fence. They did this despite complaints about the damage to agriculture by local farmers and without drawing any major international attention.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 13, 2023.
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