The Israeli army has prepared a plan to flood the tunnels under the Gaza Strip with seawater in order to drive out militants of the Palestinian movement Hamas, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Monday, citing unnamed US officials.
According to them, the army has not yet decided when it will proceed with this plan. The tunnels may also hold some of the hundreds of hostages still held by Hamas. The Israeli army did not want to comment on the decision. According to the WSJ, it installed five large water pumps last month at the Shati camp near Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip. These pumps can flood the tunnels within weeks.
Israel would not be the first country to flood the tunnels in Gaza. In the past, according to the WSJ, the tunnels were already flooded by Egypt, because Hamas used them to smuggle weapons and explosives into Egypt.
The Hamas tunnel system under the Gaza Strip is about five hundred kilometers long, the BBC server wrote earlier. Several hundred of them have already been destroyed by the army. Soldiers found weapons and military equipment in the tunnels.
WSJ sources said there is no consensus within the US government on the plan. For example, there are concerns that seawater could contaminate agricultural land or damage the statics of buildings.