IDF chief says flooding Gaza tunnels with seawater ‘a good idea’

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

IDF troops operate in northern Gaza near the mouth of a Hamas tunnel in this handout photo released on November 23, 2023. (IDF)
IDF troops operate in northern Gaza near the mouth of a Hamas tunnel in this handout photo released on November 23, 2023. (IDF)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi comments on reports that Israel aims to flood Hamas’s tunnel network in the Gaza Strip, saying “It’s a good idea.”

“We are seeing a lot of underground infrastructure in Gaza, we knew there would be a lot. Part of the goal is to destroy this infrastructure,” Halevi says in response to a question regarding a report in The Wall Street Journal.

“We have various ways [to deal with the tunnels], I won’t talk about specifics, but they include explosives to destroy, and other means to prevent Hamas operatives from using the tunnels to harm our soldiers,” he says.

“Therefore, any means which give us an advantage over the enemy that [uses the tunnels], deprives it of this asset, is a means that we are evaluating using. This is a good idea, but I won’t comment on its specifics,” Halevi adds.

Responding to another question regarding the entry of aid to the Gaza Strip amid the ground offensive, Halevi says the IDF is making “great efforts” to ensure it is only fighting Hamas, and not harming the Palestinian civilian population.

“Our enemy is Hamas, not the population in the Gaza Strip, and therefore there is humanitarian aid including fuel which allows the hospitals, water pumps, purification plants, to prevent diseases which can spread,” he says.

“It is important to note, that the State of Israel, and the IDF, are operating in a justified war, and we live in a world which enables us to do this, and understand our justified war. As long as we differentiate between the enemy and the population, we will be able to deepen our achievements, to fight more, find more [Hamas] commanders, to destroy more infrastructure,” Halevi adds.

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