By: Jake Smith, Daily Caller News Foundation
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have begun flooding Hamas’ network of tunnels underneath the Gaza Strip, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The IDF is carrying out a sweeping counteroffensive in Gaza to eliminate Hamas terrorists, who killed over 1,200 civilians in Israel on Oct. 7. As part of the next phase of the counteroffensive in southern Gaza, the IDF is currently flooding Hamas’ tunnel network with seawater, which spans roughly 300 miles under Gaza and serves as the nerve center for the terrorist group’s operations, unnamed U.S. officials told the WSJ.
The operation involves multiple pumps siphoning water from the Mediterranean Sea and jetting it into different entrance points in the tunnel system, a process that will likely take weeks, the officials told the WSJ. Some U.S. officials have warned that the operation might not work, but others expressed optimism that it could at least partially clear the tunnels.
The IDF is also utilizing different methods to destroy the tunnel system, including airstrikes, drones, dogs, robots and liquid explosives, according to the WSJ. The IDF has been hesitant to send troops directly into the tunnels themselves, as it would prove a challenge to fight in a cramped underground environment potentially rigged with traps.
“The territorial issue is not the issue, the problem is Hamas is going underground,” Amos Yadlin, former Israeli military intelligence chief, told the WSJ.
“The subterranean [theater] continues to be the challenge,” retired Israeli military intelligence colonel Miri Eisin told the WSJ.
As Israel closes in on the remaining Hamas strong points in Gaza, hundreds of terrorists have surrendered, according to the WSJ. The IDF continues heavy operations in Khan Yunis and is “deepening control” over the northern region, Israeli general Herzi Halevi said Monday.
The IDF did not immediately respond to a request for comment.