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May 22, 2024

Israel Confirms Flooding Hamas Tunnels in Gaza to Halt Attacks

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Jan 31, 2024

Israel has confirmed it is flooding Hamas attack tunnels in Gaza with seawater to halt militant operations and drive out fighters, as mediators push for a ceasefire following recent cross-border violence.

Israel Aims to Halt Hamas Tunnel Operations

The Israeli military announced this week that it has embarked on an operation to pump seawater into Hamas tunnels running under Gaza. As reported by the Times of Israel, the military confirmed it was working to “neutralize and destroy tunnels.” The flooding aims to collapse tunnels and prevent Hamas militants from using them to launch attacks on Israel.

According to IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav, dozens of Hamas operatives have already fled the tunnels as seawater has seeped in. He stated that “the militants understand they have lost this strategic asset.” Sources claim up to 40% of the tunnel network has already been damaged or destroyed. However, other reports estimate up to 80% is still intact as Israel struggles to destroy them without endangering hostages.

Hamas built a vast network of tunnels, bunkers and command centers under Gaza to facilitate militant and weapons movement. A command center was discovered under a cemetery Israel demolished in Khan Younis which it says was used to hide tunnel openings.

Ceasefire Talks Continue as Violence Flares

The flooding comes amid mediation efforts to reach a ceasefire and halt recent fighting which has killed dozens.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged on Monday for an immediate cessation of violence. As peace talks drag on, both sides continue aggressive military action.

Just hours after Blinken’s statement, Israel carried out air strikes killing at least 14 in Gaza. Militants responded with rockets targeting Israeli communities. Flareups risk spiraling the situation despite talk progress. The IDF continues operations in Gaza while shifting some troops to address threats from Lebanon’s Hezbollah in the north.

Concerns Over Destruction and Desecration

Israel’s tunnel flooding and associated infrastructure demolition during recent fighting has prompted allegations of reckless damage and disregard for Gazan lives.

The IDF razed part of a cemetery and mosque in Khan Younis which it claimed hid tunnel openings. Families have decried the desecration of graves of their relatives and demands for international investigation are growing. Israel insists the site was exploited by terrorists and action was justified.

Rights groups accuse Israel of an overly-aggressive approach worsening humanitarian conditions without resolving root causes fueling recurring rounds violence. With swift burials due to fighting, reports have emerged of bodies being hastily exhumed to make way for new dead as Gaza’s morgues fill up.

Escalation Risks Remain High Despite Lull

While the flooding of tunnels indicates Israel’s intent to degrade Hamas’ capabilities over the long term, clashes frequently erupt despite periods of calm. 80% of Hamas tunnels remain intact providing capacity to launch attacks on Israel. Rocket fire continues intermittently from Gaza as factions pressure Israel to ease the blockade. Any significant provocation risks sparking further escalation and reprisals.

IDF Chief Aviv Kohavi has instructed forces to prepare for renewed fighting while pursuing the tunnel flooding mission. Israel remains on high alert regarding threats from Gaza and Hezbollah to the north. With rising Israeli-Palestinian tensions on other fronts, conditions for a wider outbreak of violence could emerge unexpectedly. While ceasefire talks offer some hope, significant risk factors remain unresolved. Sustained international engagement is urgently needed to address humanitarian needs in Gaza and chart a course preventing recurring bloodshed.

Table summarizing estimated remaining attack tunnel capacity:

Reported % of tunnels damaged/destroyed Estimated % operational capacity remaining
40% 60%
20% 80%

The seawater flooding strategy indicates Israel’s determination to curb Hamas tunnel attack capabilities which have enabled rounds of fierce clashes. However, with many tunnels still intact and massive reconstruction efforts underway, militants retain capacity to launch strikes. Halting the violence requires tackling root causes – the dire humanitarian crisis and political stalemate enabling Hamas’ grip on Gaza.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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