Israel has prepared plans to flood the tunnels constructed under the Gaza Strip by Hamas with seawater from the Mediterranean, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) positioned five large water pumps near Al-Shati (Beach) refugee camp in Gaza City last month, aiming to flood the tunnels by channelling thousands of cubic metres of water per hour into them.
Israel blames Hamas for putting civilians in danger by operating from civilian areas, including in tunnels which can only be destroyed by large bombs. Hamas denies this.
“We are not sure how successful pumping will be since nobody knows the details of the tunnels and the ground around them,” a source told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s impossible to know if that will be effective because we don’t know how seawater will drain in tunnels no one has been in before.”
According to the report, US officials were briefed on the plan, but are uncertain about how close Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is to implementing it.
The IDF announced on Sunday that over 800 tunnel shafts have been discovered in the Gaza Strip since Israel’s devastating onslaught on Gaza started on 7 October. Of these, approximately 500 have already been demolished. “The shafts were located in civilian areas, and many of them were located near or inside educational institutions, kindergartens, mosques and playgrounds,” the IDF claimed.
Hamas, which was elected democratically to run the Palestinian Authority in 2006, and has been the de facto government of the Gaza Strip since 2007, said earlier that the Israeli authorities seek to destroy all aspects of life in Gaza, including the health and municipal services as well as other vital provision for the Palestinians in Gaza. Observers point to the irony of Israel refusing to allow fresh water into the enclave, but is ready to pump seawater in.
Israel resumed its military offensive on the Gaza Strip on Friday, after a week-long humanitarian truce. The occupation state launched an air and ground offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza after Hamas led an attack on Israeli army barracks and settlements in the vicinity of Gaza on 7 October. The resistance fighters crossed the nominal border into Israel and took around 240 hostages. Since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopter gunships and tanks of the Israel Defence Forces had in fact killed many of the 1,200 soldiers and civilians alleged by Israel to have been killed by Hamas.
The apartheid state has since killed almost 16,000 Palestinians in Gaza, 6,150 of whom were children, and 4,000 of whom were women. More than 41,000 people have been wounded by the Israeli offensive, and at least 8,000 are thought to be buried under the rubble of their homes destroyed by Israeli bombs. Moreover, the healthcare sector in Gaza has collapsed under the weight of the casualties and attacks on hospitals and medical staff by Israeli forces.