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Israel is preparing to flood the Hamas tunnel network in Gaza

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Amid strategic preparations, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have long been strategizing the infusion of seawater into the intricate tunnel network employed by Hamas in Gaza. This plan, as disclosed by the Wall Street Journal and forewarned weeks ago by the Jerusalem Post, involves the deployment of five substantial pumps situated north of the al-Shati refugee camp. Each pump possesses the capability to discharge thousands of cubic meters of seawater, a move aimed at disrupting the Hamas tunnel labyrinth.

Top-ranking defense authorities had previously conveyed to the Post that this initiative forms part of a multifaceted approach envisioned by the IDF to dismantle and render ineffective Hamas’s extensive tunnel infrastructure. Israel, in a diplomatic gesture, communicated to U.S. officials about the contemplation of this course of action in the preceding month. The assessment involved weighing the practicality and environmental ramifications against the imperative military need.

Given the intricate nature of the tunnels, the efficacy of this method remains uncertain. It might serve as a comprehensive solution to the tunnel threat, or alternatively, it may constitute just one among various pivotal strategies. The timeline for this process extends over weeks, potentially affording Hamas fighters the opportunity to evacuate, along with any hostages in their custody. The Israeli stance on waiting for the safe return of all hostages remains ambiguous.

A focal point of concern revolves around the environmental consequences of introducing seawater into the terrain. The infiltration of seawater into the soil poses a significant risk, potentially poisoning already semi-salinated aquifers in the depths and rendering the surface highly unstable. Apprehensions include the salination of Gaza’s soil, posing challenges for agricultural cultivation. Furthermore, stored substances in the tunnels could leach into the soil, further contaminating the region.

Past instances, such as Egypt’s 2015 flooding of Hamas tunnels, resulted in grievances from farmers in Rafah, citing damage to their crops. Traditionally, military forces deploy dogs and robots for tunnel clearance, but the IDF contemplates that inundating the tunnels might present a more efficient option, saving time, money, and human resources.



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