Israel has readied plans to flood Hamas’s system of tunnels under the Gaza Strip with water pumped from the Mediterranean Sea, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Citing US officials, the report says the Israel Defense Forces last month set up five large water pumps near the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, which are capable of flooding the subterranean network within weeks by pumping thousands of cubic meters of water per hour into the tunnels.
The officials say Israel alerted the US about the plan last month, but has not yet decided on whether to implement it.
According to the report, opinions in Biden administration were mixed, with some officials expressing concern about the Israeli plan while others say they back Israel’s efforts to destroy the tunnels and say there isn’t necessarily any American opposition.
Among the concerns cited in the report were potential damage to Gaza’s aquifer and soil, if seawater and hazardous substances in the tunnels seeps into them.
“We are not sure how successful pumping will be since nobody knows the details of the tunnels and the ground around them,” a person familiar with the plan is quoted as saying. “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.”