Photo Credit: IDF
An IDF soldier about to send a robot into a Hamas tunnel.

Israel has begun flooding the network of Hamas terror tunnels with seawater pumped from the Mediterranean, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing US officials who had been briefed by Israel. The IDF refused to comment.

This video was shot by Hamas during a 2015 flooding of their tunnels:


The underground tunnel network that was dug by Hamas plays a crucial role in the terrorists’ battlefield activities. These tunnels serve as a means for Hamas to mobilize fighters across the battlefield, store rockets and munitions, and facilitate command and control by the group’s leaders. Israel also contends that some hostages may be held within the tunnel system.

Last week, the families of the hostages who met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet ministers expressed their fear that their loved ones would also be among those who die in the flooding.

When asked about the flooding strategy in a Tuesday press conference at the White House with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, President Joe Biden responded that he had heard estimates that “there are no hostages in any of these tunnels…But I don’t know that for a fact.”

The Americans have expressed their concerns that the quality of drinking water could deteriorate as a result of pumping seawater into the Gaza Strip’s water table, especially given that there is little bedrock underneath the Strip, it’s mostly sand, which made the digging of 300 miles of tunnels relatively easy.

But the operation to flood some 300 miles of underground tunnels may not be as simple as it sounds, especially since Hamas installed thick metal doors to protect its underground command centers.

About a week ago, Israel assembled a system of five large pumps with which it would be able to flood the vast network of Hamas tunnels under the Gaza Strip with seawater. According to reports, Israel has now added two pumps, but it is still estimated that it would take several weeks of continued pumping to achieve the desired results.

Between 2011 and 2015, Egypt pumped water into the Gaza Strip tunnels as part of an effort to stop the smuggling of goods in and out of the Strip, and the Gazans back then complained that their neighbors were using sewer water.

This video depicts the IDF Yahalom unit which is trained to locate and eliminate Hamas tunnels:

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