floods Hamas tunnels – WSJ

227 floods Hamas tunnels – WSJ

With the lives of hostages at stake, the Israeli authorities is protecting quiet on the operation

The Israeli army has begun pumping seawater into Hamas’ underground tunnel community beneath Gaza, the Wall Avenue Journal has reported. Israeli officers have refused to touch upon the alleged operation, which may endanger the lives of greater than 100 hostages and contaminate the strip’s water provide.

Israeli forces began experimenting with flooding the tunnels a while after transporting highly effective pumps into Gaza final month, the newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing US officers. With the tunnels stretching for lots of of miles beneath Gaza, totally flooding the warren of passageways and bunkers is anticipated to take a number of weeks, the report claimed.

A spokesperson for Israeli Protection Minister Yoav Gallant refused to remark, stating that any army operations involving the tunnels are categorized. Nevertheless, Chief of Workers Herzi Halevi mentioned final week that flooding the subterranean community was “a good suggestion, however I gained’t touch upon its specifics.”

The thought is a contentious one in Israel. Family members of the roughly 140 hostages nonetheless in Hamas’ captivity concern that flooding the tunnels will endanger their family members, a few of whom are believed to be held within the passages. In conferences with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, freed hostages complained that the flooding could be a demise sentence for these left behind, based on audio recordings printed by Hebrew information web site Ynet final week.   

Questioned in regards to the flooding operation, US President Joe Biden claimed on Tuesday that he has heard “assertions” that “there’s no hostages in any of those tunnels. However I don’t know that for a reality.”

Nevertheless, US officers have raised considerations that pumping massive quantities of seawater underground may contaminate Gaza’s restricted freshwater assets. Previous to the battle with Israel, round 90% of the enclave’s ingesting water got here from groundwater wells, based on the Palestinian Water Authority. The rest got here from native desalination and wastewater crops – which can not function with out gas –  in addition to Israeli pipelines, which Israel shut off instantly after Hamas’ October 7 assault.

From Israel’s perspective, filling the tunnels with water is preferable to sending troops beneath the bottom to face armed militants and booby traps. Whereas Israeli forces management a lot of Gaza Metropolis within the north of the strip and a few of Khan Younis within the south, “the issue is Hamas goes underground,” former Israeli army intelligence chief Amos Yadlin advised the Wall Avenue Journal.

Even within the areas that Israel has taken, “the subterranean [theater] continues to be the problem,” retired Israeli colonel Miri Eisin advised the newspaper. 

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