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Israel constructs large pumps to flood Hamas terror tunnels with seawater: Wall Street Journal


The Israeli military has assembled several large pumps it could use to flood the Hamas tunnels beneath the Gaza Strip with seawater, driving out terrorists hiding there, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing U.S. officials.

Construction of five large seawater pumps was completed in November about one mile north of the Al-Shati refugee camp. Each pump is capable of drawing water from the Mediterranean Sea and can move thousands of cubic meters of water per hour, which would flood the tunnels within weeks, the report said.

Israel has not yet committed to the plan, and it is unclear whether it would attempt to flood the tunnels while there are still hostages, including Americans, held by Hamas. The Palestinian terror group took some 240 people captive during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel and brought them back to the Gaza Strip. 

According to the report, Israel has identified about 800 tunnels beneath Gaza that Hamas has used to move fighters, store weapons and plan terror attacks on Israel. However, Israeli officials believe the tunnel network is much larger.

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Israeli soldiers operate at the opening to a tunnel at Al Shifa Hospital compound in Gaza City, amid the ongoing ground operation of the Israeli army against Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, November 22, 2023. (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo)

By flooding the tunnels over several weeks, Israel would enable Hamas terrorists and potentially hostages to move out, the outlet reported, citing a source familiar with the plan. 

“We are not sure how successful pumping will be since nobody knows the details of the tunnels and the ground around them,” the source 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.”

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A view of an entrance to a Hamas tunnel uncovered during Israel's ground operations in Gaza

A view shows the entrance to what Israel’s military says is the shaft of a Hamas underground tunnel that was uncovered during Israel’s ground operation against the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in the Gaza Strip as seen in a screen grab from a video released by the Israel Defense Forces on December 3, 2023.  (ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES/Handout via REUTERS)

The Wall Street Journal said an Israel Defense Forces official declined to comment on the flooding plan, but said: “The IDF is operating to dismantle Hamas’s terror capabilities in various ways, using different military and technological tools.”

U.S. officials were informed of the plan last month, the Wall Street Journal reported, but the U.S. does not know how close Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is to executing the plan. 

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An Israeli soldier shines a light on his rifle down a Hamas tunnel

An Israeli soldier secures a tunnel underneath Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, amid the ongoing ground operation of the Israeli army against Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in the northern Gaza Strip, November 22, 2023.  (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Israel has committed to continuing its war effort until Hamas is eradicated in Gaza. The Israeli military said it launched its 10,000th airstrike against the terror group in the Gaza Strip late Sunday.

Israel has vowed to do everything it can to protect civilians as it targets Hamas and its network of tunnels. Many of the 10,000 airstrikes have been aimed at destroying Hamas’ underground labyrinth.

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The IDF says it has struck over 400 separate Hamas targets since the cease-fire agreement collapsed on Friday. White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Sunday that Hamas was to blame for the end of the cease-fire, because they did not release “additional women and children that we know that they are holding, and they’re refusing to let go.”

“Our policy is clear — we will forcefully strike any threat posed against our territory,” IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a statement.



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