The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel has begun flooding Gaza tunnels, citing US sources familiar with the Israeli military operation.
As part of its continuous ground effort to destroy the Palestinian resistance organization, Israel’s military has started pumping seawater into Hamas’ extensive network of tunnels in Gaza, the Wall Street Journal reported on December 12.
To store weapons, ammunition, and missiles, as well as to deploy fighters around Gaza to target advancing Israeli tanks, armored personnel carriers, and soldiers, Hamas constructed a vast underground network. It is also reported that the military leadership of Hamas is leading its fighters from a subterranean headquarters.
The Wall Street Journal stated that the plan to fill the tunnels with water from the Mediterranean is only getting started, citing US sources familiar with the Israeli military operation.
The Israeli defense minister’s spokeswoman said the tunnel operations are classified and declined to comment.
Subscribe to GreatGameIndia
This is because of concerns in Israel that some of the 100 Israelis who are still being held captive by Hamas may be in danger if the tunnels are flooded.
Israelis furiously informed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week during a meeting with released hostages and their families that they feared their loved ones would be killed by the flooding of the tunnels where many of the captives are likely being held.
The freed prisoners also bemoaned the random Israeli shelling that put them at risk while they were being detained in homes and moved through Gaza’s streets. One prisoner was afraid that Israel would murder her and then accuse Hamas of being behind it.
The mysterious tunnels of Gaza, which have been dug by Gaza’s militias for close to 40 years, are often hidden beneath buildings, vegetation, and other terrain, posing a threat of urban warfare.
The effectiveness of flooding the extensive network of tunnels, which spans over 300 miles, is still unknown. US authorities claim that the Israeli military is still assessing this.
Along with liquid explosives, robots, dogs, and drones, the Israeli military has also attempted to assault the network by airstrikes employing 2,000-pound bombs, even in highly populated regions.
However, Israel has been hesitant to deploy troops into the tunnels, where they would have to deal with booby traps and be without aerial support from armed drones while fighting Hamas forces.
In the last week, Israel constructed seven pumps to help with the floods, which will probably take several weeks.
There are worries among certain White House officials that employing seawater may jeopardize Gaza’s freshwater supply.
Israel is currently concentrating its efforts on Khan Yunis, a city in southern Gaza. If Israel is successful, it will proceed to attack Rafah, where Hamas has tunnels under Egypt that it uses to bring supplies and weaponry into the besieged enclave.
Israel’s top general, Herzi Halevi, stated during a Monday speech from Khan Yunis: “We are deepening activity underground as well as our control over northern Gaza and our penetration into the southern strip.”
According to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Hamas was “on the verge of collapse” and northern Gaza was at its “breaking point” on Monday night.
However, even when Israeli forces have control over sizable portions of Gaza above ground, this does not always mean Hamas is about to lose. “The problem is that Hamas is going underground; the territorial issue is not the issue,” stated Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence.
Israeli troops continue to be murdered and injured by Hamas; on December 13, Israel declared nine soldiers dead.
Israel maintains that since Hamas began its ground invasion, only 115 of its soldiers have died; yet, the Israeli military places stringent restrictions on the amount of information it releases regarding deaths. According to medical data, the number of injured soldiers is double that of the army, according to a report by Haaretz.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, former Israeli military intelligence colonel Miri Eisin stated that “the subterranean [theater] continues to be the challenge.”
Israel has carried out bombing and ground operations that are purportedly intended to combat Hamas, although the primary casualties have been Palestinian citizens. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 18,205 Palestinians have died, with women and children making up around 70% of the dead.