NewsIsraeli forces pumping seawater into Hamas tunnels, triggering fears of environmental catastrophe

Israeli forces pumping seawater into Hamas tunnels, triggering fears of environmental catastrophe

Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip
Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip
Images source: © Licensor | X

6:57 AM EST, December 13, 2023

Israeli forces' plans to flood the tunnels surfaced over a week ago. American reports now confirm that the process of pumping seawater into underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip has begun. Seven large pumps are driving thousands of cubic yards of water per hour from the Mediterranean Sea into the underground haunts of Hamas. The operation is slated to last a few weeks at the least.

According to the "Wall Street Journal" report, the flooding of Hamas' tunnels aligns with a wider Israeli plan to annihilate the underground infrastructure. The methods adopted include bombing and deploying dogs, drones, and robots.

This Israeli strategy has been met with disapproval. Critics argue that inducing a flood could trigger an environmental catastrophe and exacerbate the already challenging situation of freshwater accessibility for Gaza Strip residents.

The Egyptian government carried out a similar operation back in 2015. They used seawater to flood smuggling tunnels at the Rafah border crossing, situated between the Sinai peninsula and the Gaza Strip under siege. The operation resulted in the contamination of drinking water and crop destruction. The seawater used for tunnel flooding also overflowed onto the streets, inundating residential buildings.

Last week, Herci Halevi, the Chief of General Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, stated that flooding the Hamas's tunnels was a "good idea." However, there has been no official response from the military. The report from the Wall Street Journal suggests that officials from President Joe Biden's administration have expressed apprehension about the potential ramifications of this operation.

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