IDF officially confirms it has been flooding some Hamas tunnels with seawater

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

A pipe pumping water into a Hamas tunnel is seen near Palestine Square in Gaza City’s Rimal neighborhood, December 19, 2023. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)
A pipe pumping water into a Hamas tunnel is seen near Palestine Square in Gaza City’s Rimal neighborhood, December 19, 2023. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

The IDF officially releases for publication that it has been flooding some tunnels in the Gaza Strip with seawater, in what has been an open secret for several weeks.

Several IDF units and officials at the Defense Ministry jointly developed “a number of tools for injecting high-flow water into Hamas tunnels in the Gaza Strip,” the military says, adding that it is “part of the variety of tools the IDF has for dealing with tunnels.”

Not all tunnels are flooded, with the IDF saying the process includes attaching pumps and pipes to the “suitable tunnel shafts for the task.”

The IDF says that before it floods tunnels, it carries out “professional and comprehensive” preemptive checks, including an analysis of the soil and water system in the area, to ensure groundwater is not contaminated.

The flooding of the tunnels is just one method of neutralizing Hamas’s underground capabilities, the IDF says. It says other methods include “aerial attacks, underground maneuvers, and special operations with technological means.”

In December, The Wall Street Journal reported that the IDF had started pumping seawater into Hamas’s underground tunnel system. A week later, The Times of Israel learned that a trial run had been successful.

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