The Israeli military has set up a system of pumps that it could use to flood tunnels in the Gaza Strip that are used by Hamas militants to move during the group’s attacks against civilians.
The Wall Street Journal, citing conversations with officials in the U.S. government, reported the plan was first floated by the Israel Defense Forces last month and discussed with their allies in Washington.
But no decision has been made about using salt water to drown out the terrorists and to neutralize the tunnels.
The Journal reported, “U.S. officials said they didn’t know how close the Israeli government was to carrying out the plan. Israel hasn’t made a final decision to move ahead, nor has it ruled the plan out.”
“Sentiment inside the U.S. was mixed. Some U.S. officials privately expressed concern about the plan, while other officials said the U.S. supports the disabling of the tunnels and said there wasn’t necessarily any U.S. opposition to the plan.”
According to the report, the IDF has identified and mapped out an estimated 800 tunnels that Hamas uses to move weapons and personnel from location to location undetected.
Some of the hostages taken by Hamas during its surprise Oct. 7 attack against Israel were reportedly ushered around Gaza in the underground network.
While it is estimated there are at least 800 tunnels, the number could be much higher, the IDF believes.
Pumps that could be used in the plan, if it is indeed carried out, are currently used to desalinate water for Gaza.
One person the Journal spoke to who is reportedly familiar with the plan said the IDF is currently assessing how it might work.
“We are not sure how successful pumping will be since nobody knows the details of the tunnels and the ground around them,” the person told the Journal.
The source added, “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.”
On the proposal to force terrorists above ground, Israel’s military vaguely said, “The IDF is operating to dismantle Hamas’s terror capabilities in various ways, using different military and technological tools.”
Per the Journal, at least five pumps were set up weeks ago near Gaza’s Al-Shati refugee camp.
With the ability to pump thousands of cubic meters per hour, the pumps could flood Hamas’ entire tunnel network within a matter of weeks.
Tunnel networks that are known to the IDF are vast in the north and the south of Gaza, according to a map shared by the Journal.
There is a smaller tunnel network believed to be in the central Gaza Strip.
I compared the @NYTimes map of damage in Gaza with the map of the “Gaza Metro” that the IDF had released. it shows that the IDF is targeting tunnels, and when we see buildings seemingly damaged for no reason, it is because the tunnels – legitimate military targets – were built… pic.twitter.com/zgyejq5gUX
— Elder of Ziyon 🇮🇱 (@elderofziyon) November 3, 2023
It is unclear if the IDF, if it did carry out the plan to flood Hamas’ 300-mile tunnel network, would engage in further hostage negotiations beforehand.
Hamas militants took over 200 civilians with them into Gaza after the group carried out its early October surprise attacks.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.