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WSJ: Israel Begins Pumping Seawater into Hamas’ Gaza Tunnels

Israel is taking a creative approach to combating the famous vast tunnel system created by the terrorist organization

  |   By Polling+ Staff

Photo by JACK GUEZ/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Israel is taking a creative approach to combating the famous vast tunnel system created by the terrorist organization Hamas which runs throughout Gaza and into Israel. The Wall Street Journal has reported that according to U.S. officials briefed on the Israeli military’s operations, Israel’s military has begun pumping seawater into the complex underground tunnels as part of an intensive effort to destroy the infrastructure.

The Wall Street Journal writes:

The underground tunnels have been vital to Hamas in conducting its terrorist activities for years. The move to flood the tunnels with water from the Mediterranean, which is in an early stage, is just one of several techniques Israel is using to try to clear the tunnels and destroy them.

A spokesperson for the Israeli defense minister declined to comment, saying the tunnel operations are classified.

Israeli officials say that Hamas’s vast underground system has been key to its operations on the battlefield. The tunnel system, they say, is used by Hamas to maneuver fighters across the battlefield and store the group’s rockets and munitions, and enables the group’s leaders to command and control their forces.

The operation has come under scrutiny, including from U.S. officials who questioned the “utility of using seawater” to clear the 300-mile “labyrinth” because the network’s blast-proof doors may limit the efficacy of the approach. “Some Biden administration officials have been concerned that using seawater might not be effective and could endanger Gaza’s freshwater supply,” the Journal added.

Others suggest Israel should rely more on robots, dogs, drones and the most dangerous option, exposed infantry to clear the tunnel network room by room. National Review writes that the combat option would be “imperiling even more Israeli lives but keeping Western consciences clean.”

Humanitarian organizations say a flooding operation could imperil the hostages who remain in Hamas’s custody and are likely being held underground. Hamas itself warned that the IDF would free dangerous chemicals, which would seep into the soil “and threaten to make the Strip unviable.”

National Review cleverly points out that with all the criticism and warning against Israel on the tactics it chooses to defend itself, “there is, however, another alternative that too often goes unmentioned. Hamas could surrender unconditionally to IDF forces and hand over the hostages it seized during the 10/7 massacre, thereby sparing its fighters from their watery graves and mitigating the environmental risks associated with the IDF’s strategy of last resort.”