mulls flooding Hamas tunnels – WSJ

230 mulls flooding Hamas tunnels – WSJ

The plan might spell a humanitarian catastrophe for water-stressed Gaza, the newspaper says

Israel is contemplating utilizing seawater to flood the intensive community of tunnels underneath Gaza, utilized by Hamas militants to smuggle items out and in of the Palestinian enclave, the Wall Road Journal reported on Monday, citing sources.

In response to US officers interviewed by the paper, the Israeli navy assembled a big flooding system not removed from Al-Shati refugee camp in northwest Gaza in mid-November. The unit reportedly consists of 5 pumps able to drawing 1000’s of cubic meters of water per hour from the Mediterranean Sea, probably permitting Israel to flood the underground maze inside a couple of weeks.

The Israeli authorities knowledgeable the US, its key ally, of the initiative final month, sparking debate about whether or not the plan was possible, in addition to its professionals and cons, WSJ sources stated. They famous that no ultimate choice on its execution has but been made, and that it’s unclear how prepared Israel is to implement it.

The plan, the report says, might drive Hamas fighters out of the sprawling system of tunnels, which span a whole bunch of kilometers, with some passages reaching into Egypt.

The community additionally gives Hamas and different native Islamist teams with formidable cowl from missile strikes, and permits them to evade Israel’s blockade. Some tunnels are tall sufficient for a mean man to face up in, are constructed from strengthened concrete, and boast a community of communication strains.

Nevertheless, some US officers are stated to have severe doubts in regards to the plan. “We aren’t positive how profitable pumping shall be, since no person is aware of the main points of the tunnels and the bottom round them,” one supply stated.

In the meantime, Jon Alterman, a senior vice chairman on the Heart for Strategic and Worldwide Research, warned in a WSJ interview that it was arduous to estimate how a lot seawater would seep into the bottom or what influence the pumping would have on water and sewage infrastructure.

This sentiment was echoed by Wim Zwijnenburg, an environmental professional, who famous that the flooding might wash hazardous supplies out of the tunnels, additional contaminating the soil. He additionally recalled that Gaza’s aquifer has been getting saltier just lately attributable to an increase within the sea degree.

The present hostilities between Israel and Hamas had been sparked early October and have resulted in 1000’s of lifeless on each side, whereas Hamas took greater than 2 hundred hostages, a lot of whom have since been launched. The combating has additionally exacerbated the ever-present water disaster in Gaza. In response to the UN, Palestinians obtain not more than three liters per day, in comparison with the wholesome minimal of 15 liters.

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