First images ‘show Israel preparing to flood Hamas tunnels with sea water as troops set up pipes and pumps in Gaza’

Images have emerged appearing to show Israeli forces preparing to flood the labyrinth of tunnels used by Hamas under the Gaza Strip with sea water. 

Israel is said to have completed installing at least five pumps about a mile north of the Al-Shati refugee camp that could move thousands of cubic metres of water per hour – meaning they could flood the 300-mile network of tunnels within weeks.

Their plan would be to drive out the terrorists from the tunnels and make them inoperable by flooding the system with seawater from the Mediterranean Sea.

And now, images released by the IDF appear to show scores of Israeli soldiers setting up a series of black pipes on the sandy beaches of Gaza. Video shared by Israeli media also appears to show IDF soldiers working on the pipes while underground.

It emerged on Monday that Israel has assembled a system of large pumps it could use to flood Hamas’s vast network of tunnels under the Gaza Strip with sea water, according to US officials.

The tactic would enable Israel to destroy the tunnels and kill any Hamas terrorists hiding within them, the officials told the Wall Street Journal. 

It was not clear whether Israel would consider using the pumps before all the Israeli hostages captured by Hamas terrorists on October 7 as any move to flood the tunnels would prove fatal for the captives.

And now, images released by the IDF appear to show scores of Israeli soldiers setting up a series of black pipes on the sandy beaches of Gaza

Video shared by Israeli media also appears to show IDF soldiers working on the pipes while underground

Video shared by Israeli media also appears to show IDF soldiers working on the pipes while underground

Video shared by Israeli media also appears to show IDF soldiers working on the pipes while underground

Video shared by Israeli media also appears to show IDF soldiers working on the pipes while underground

Israel is said to have completed installing at least five pumps about a mile north of the Al-Shati refugee camp that could move thousands of cubic metres of water per hour - meaning they could flood the 300-mile network of tunnels within weeks

Israel is said to have completed installing at least five pumps about a mile north of the Al-Shati refugee camp that could move thousands of cubic metres of water per hour – meaning they could flood the 300-mile network of tunnels within weeks

Hamas has previously said it has hidden the hostages in ‘safe places and tunnels’. 

But footage shared by Israeli media appeared to show Israeli soldiers filling up pipes and working on pumps underground. 

And IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi appeared to confirm the report that Israel aims to flood Hamas’s tunnel network, calling it a ‘good idea’. 

‘We are seeing a lot of underground infrastructure in Gaza, we knew there would be a lot. Part of the goal is to destroy this infrastructure,’ Halevi said in response to a question about the report.

He said: ‘We have various ways [to deal with the tunnels], I won’t talk about specifics, but they include explosives to destroy, and other means to prevent Hamas operatives from using the tunnels to harm our soldiers.’

‘Therefore, any means which give us an advantage over the enemy that [uses the tunnels], deprives it of this asset, is a means that we are evaluating using. This is a good idea, but I won’t comment on its specifics,’ Halevi added. 

Israel first informed the United States of the option last month, the paper said, reporting that officials did not know how close Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was to carrying out the plan. 

An IDF spokesperson declined to comment on the plan to flood the tunnels but told the WSJ: ‘The IDF is operating to dismantle Hamas’s terror capabilities in various ways, using different military and technological tools.’ 

When asked about the report, a US official said it made sense for Israel to render the tunnels inoperable and that the country was exploring a range of ways to do that.

The Hamas terrorists operate in a complex network of reinforced tunnels, some of which are buried up to 40ft underground and all of which could conceal an ambush, be booby-trapped – or worse – filled with explosives and primed to cave in.

This means Israel can bomb Gaza all it likes and launch bunker-busting munitions to clear out some tunnels – but the IDF would still need to deploy thousands of troops to sweep through the ‘Gaza Metro’ to neutralise every last Hamas fighter.

But that is no easy task. Subterranean fighting is notoriously lethal work, especially when Israeli soldiers are fighting against heavily armed Hamas terrorists who know every hiding place and have access to a stash of rockets, grenades and guns.

One way to avoid what could be a bloodbath for Israeli troops could be to flood the tunnels – and the IDF is considering such a move, according to US officials who spoke to WSJ. 

The Israeli military told the US, its closest ally, of the option last month, prompting a discussion on how feasible it would be and the effect on the environment. 

Images released by the IDF appear to show scores of Israeli soldiers setting up a series of black pipes on the sandy beaches of Gaza

Images released by the IDF appear to show scores of Israeli soldiers setting up a series of black pipes on the sandy beaches of Gaza

Video shared by Israeli media also appears to show IDF soldiers working on the pipes while underground

Video shared by Israeli media also appears to show IDF soldiers working on the pipes while underground

An Israeli soldier walks through a tunnel underneath Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on November 22

An Israeli soldier walks through a tunnel underneath Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on November 22 

US officials said they didn’t know how close Israel was to carrying out the plan, which isn’t being ruled out by Israel.

Whilst a mission aimed at flooding the tunnels underneath Gaza with sea water could wipe out the terrorists hiding there, it would also put the lives of the 138 hostages held captive by Hamas at risk.

But it’s not clear if Israel would even consider using the pumps before all the hostages are released. 

And on top of this, any plan to wipe out the terrorists with a wall of sea water has its setbacks. The weekslong process that it would take to fill the labyrinth of tunnels could enable Hamas gunmen to move out before they are killed. 

‘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 said. 

‘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.’ 

It comes as Israel continued to dismiss US calls to temper its ground invasion as Israeli troops began their bloody new phase of the war and pushed into Gaza‘s second-largest city where Hamas terrorist leaders are believed to be hiding. 

Israeli forces were encircling the southern city of Khan Yunis today, fighting terrorists in intense street battles in some of the fiercest combat of the two-month war.

The focus of the conflict has shifted to the besieged territory’s south following fierce fighting and bombardment that reduced much of the north to rubble and forced nearly two million people to flee their homes.

And despite Washington’s desperate calls for Israel to prevent yet more bloodshed in Gaza and provide more aid, Israeli forces, backed by warplanes, reached the heart of Khan Younis yesterday and surrounded the city – trapping the thousands of exhausted civilians who had fled there.

The IDF aims to wipe out the Hamas leaders it believes are hiding in Khan Younis while using innocent civilians as human shields. 

But the cost of the war continues to mount, with more than 16,248 Palestinians killed since the conflict broke out two months ago, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza.

Today, Israeli tanks, troops and bulldozers encircled the southern city after what the IDF said was the ‘most intense day of fighting’ since the war began. 

Israeli air strikes obliterated buildings within Khan Younis today, with the IDF claiming it had killed several Hamas commanders in a strike near the Indonesia Hospital. 

Hassan al-Qadi, a displaced Khan Yunis resident, said ‘the whole city is suffering from destruction and relentless shelling.

‘Many people arriving from northern Gaza are facing dire circumstances. Many are homeless and some are searching for their missing children.’

‘We are not mere numbers. We are human beings,’ he said, speaking in the southern city of Rafah.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian terror group, said their fighters were battling Israeli troops early this morning in a bid to prevent them from breaking into Khan Younis and surrounding areas.

‘Our forces are now encircling the Khan Yunis area in the southern Gaza Strip,’ Israel’s army chief Herzi Halevi said late Tuesday. ‘We have secured many Hamas strongholds in the northern Gaza Strip, and now we are operating against its strongholds in the south.’ 

The fighting on Tuesday was ‘the most intense day since the beginning of the ground operation’ in late October, the army’s Southern Command chief Major General Yaron Finkelman said.

The Israeli army said Wednesday it had struck about 250 targets in Gaza over the past 24 hours and that troops were ‘continuing to locate weapons, underground shafts, explosives and additional military infrastructure’. 

Meanwhile, Hamas’ armed wing said it killed or wounded eight Israeli troops and destroyed 24 military vehicles on Tuesday. An Israeli military website listed two troop deaths for Tuesday and 83 since the ground operation began.

Israel continued to dismissed US calls to calm its ground invasion as Israeli troops began their bloody new phase of the war and pushed into Gaza 's second-largest city where Hamas terrorist leaders are believed to be hiding

Israel continued to dismissed US calls to calm its ground invasion as Israeli troops began their bloody new phase of the war and pushed into Gaza ‘s second-largest city where Hamas terrorist leaders are believed to be hiding

Israeli troops are pictured here in the Gaza Strip, in this image released by the IDF today

Israeli troops are pictured here in the Gaza Strip, in this image released by the IDF today 

Injured Palestinian children wait to receive medical treatment at Nasser Hospital after Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, Gaza on Tuesday

Injured Palestinian children wait to receive medical treatment at Nasser Hospital after Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, Gaza on Tuesday

Injured Palestinian children wait to receive medical treatment at Nasser Hospital after Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on Tuesday

Injured Palestinian children wait to receive medical treatment at Nasser Hospital after Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on Tuesday

Israel declared war on Hamas after the terrorist group’s October 7 attacks that killed 1,200 people and saw around 240 hostages taken. Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and free the 138 hostages still held after scores were freed during a short-lived truce.

The United States, Israel’s most important ally, has also ramped up calls for greater efforts to prevent civilian deaths in Gaza. But Israel paid no heed to Washington, as it continued with its bloody new phase of the war. 

Indeed, Gaza health officials said many civilians were killed in an Israeli strike on houses in Deir al-Balah, north of Khan Younis. Dr Eyad Al-Jabri, head of the Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital there, told Reuters at least 45 people were killed. Reuters could not reach the area nor confirm the toll. 

Meanwhile, areas in the central and northern Gaza Strip were still coming under bombardment on Wednesday, according to Hamas.

The Hamas-run health ministry said air strikes on the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza killed six people and injured 14 others.

Israel had previously told civilians in the north of the densely populated Gaza Strip to seek shelter in the south of the territory, with many fleeing to Khan Yunis believing it would be safer.

As the war expands, Israel has told people to move even further south, sparking ‘panic, fear and anxiety’, according to Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

People were being pushed into an area that is less than one-third of the Gaza Strip, with roads to the south clogged, he said.

International aid groups have condemned the succession of orders to flee from one area to another, saying that civilians were running out of options.

‘Nowhere is safe in Gaza,’ said United Nations humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths. ‘Not hospital, not shelters, not refugee camps. No one is safe.’

Following demands to create areas where civilians could shelter, Israel’s army published a map it said was intended to enable Gazans to ‘evacuate from specific places for their safety if required’.

But the UN criticised the map on Tuesday, saying it was impossible to create safe zones for civilians to flee to inside Gaza.

‘The so-called safe zones… are not scientific, they are not rational, they are not possible, and I think the authorities are aware of this,’ said James Elder, spokesman for the UN children’s agency UNICEF.

At Khan Younis’ main Nasser hospital, the wounded arrived by ambulance, car, flatbed truck and donkey cart after what survivors described as a strike on a school being used as a shelter for the displaced.

Inside a ward, almost every inch of blood-splattered floor space was taken up by the wounded including small children, with medics hurrying from patient to patient while relatives wailed.

Two girls were being treated, still covered in dust from the collapse of the house that had buried their family.

‘My parents are under the rubble,’ sobbed one child. ‘I want my mum, I want my mum, I want my family.’

The violence in Gaza ‘now ranks amongst the worst assaults on any civilian population in our time and age’, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council, which also warned of the dire public health consequences of the approaching winter.

Their belongings piled onto donkey carts, battered vehicles and camels, Gazans headed south to try to escape the expanding Israeli offensive.

An estimated 1.9 million people are displaced in Gaza – roughly three-quarters of the population, according to UN figures.

Amid continued international criticism of Gaza’s plight, the United States, Israel’s close ally, reiterated on Tuesday that Israel needed to do more to allow fuel and other aid into Gaza and reduce harm to civilians.

‘The level of assistance that’s getting in is not sufficient,’ U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said at a press briefing. ‘It needs to go up, and we’ve made that clear to the government of Israel.’ 

Israeli troops are pictured here in the Gaza Strip, in this image released by the IDF today

Israeli troops are pictured here in the Gaza Strip, in this image released by the IDF today

A Palestinian child, injured in an Israeli airstrike arrives at Nasser Medical Hospital on Wednesday in Khan Younis

A Palestinian child, injured in an Israeli airstrike arrives at Nasser Medical Hospital on Wednesday in Khan Younis 

Palestinians inspect the site of Israeli strikes, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Khan Younis on Wednesday

Palestinians inspect the site of Israeli strikes, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Khan Younis on Wednesday 

Palestinian children carry items as they walk at the site of Israeli strikes in Khan Younis on Wednesday

Palestinian children carry items as they walk at the site of Israeli strikes in Khan Younis on Wednesday 

A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday shows an Israeli air force attack helicopter firing a missile at Gaza

A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday shows an Israeli air force attack helicopter firing a missile at Gaza 

Smoke rises in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from southern Israel, on Wednesday

Smoke rises in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from southern Israel, on Wednesday

In northern Gaza, the Israeli military said it had encircled the Jabalia refugee camp and also raided a Hamas Internal Security Forces command and control centre. According to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, several people were killed and injured in Israeli strikes on Jabalia.

Fighting in Gaza resumed after the collapse on Friday of a Qatar-mediated truce that saw scores of Israeli and other hostages released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

Qatar’s ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, said his country was ‘constantly working to renew’ the truce and denounced what he called ‘shameful’ international inaction over the war.

It comes as Israeli police said they are investigating alleged sexual crimes and Israel’s justice ministry has said ‘victims were tortured, physically abused, raped, burned alive, and dismembered’.

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that Hamas had repeatedly raped women and mutilated their bodies during its assault on southern Israel, citing survivors and witnesses.

‘It is appalling,’ he told a political fundraiser in Boston.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited the claims of rape and other abuse in a meeting with families of returned hostages on Tuesday that some participants described as angry because of frustration over the government’s handling of the situation.

‘I heard stories that broke my heart… I heard and you also heard, about sexual assault and cases of brutal rape unlike anything,’ Netanyahu said at a press conference.

The war has sparked fears of a wider regional conflict, with frequent exchanges of fire with Iran-backed Hezbollah across Israel’s border with Lebanon.

A Lebanese soldier was killed by Israeli fire on a military post near the country’s southern border Tuesday, the army said.

Israel’s army acknowledged the incident, saying in a post on X that it had targeted a Hezbollah position in an effort ‘to eliminate an imminent threat’.

The occupied West Bank has also seen a surge in violence.

Israeli troops raided Faraa refugee camp in the north of the territory early Wednesday, sparking clashes that killed two people, one of them aged 16, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The latest deaths added to more than 250 people killed in the West Bank since October, according to Palestinian authorities.

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