Monday, February 26, 2024

Israel begins flooding Gaza tunnels with seawater “on a limited basis”: US

The Israelis informed the US that they have begun “carefully testing out” flooding some of Gaza's tunnels with seawater “on a limited basis” to test the ability to degrade the tunnel network on a larger scale, an American official told CNN on Tuesday.

The Israelis are still unsure of whether it will work, the official said, but they assured the US that they are being careful to only test it in tunnels where they do not believe hostages are being held.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s office announced it believes 135 hostages are still being held by Hamas, some of whom are believed to be US citizens.

The Israeli military noted earlier this month that it destroyed at least 500 tunnel shafts in Gaza and located more than 800 around the Palestinian enclave. The IDF said last week that many of the tunnel shafts “were located in civilian areas” and inside civilian structures.

In 2021, Hamas claimed to have built 500 kilometers (311 miles) worth of tunnels under Gaza, though it is unclear if that figure was accurate or posturing.

Also on Tuesday, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that troops inside Gaza are operating deep underground.

“They are locating Hamas infrastructure and destroying it,” he added.

He went on to say that Hamas’ infrastructure in Gaza City and the northern area of the Gaza Strip was on the verge of collapsing. IDF operations were being conducted above and below ground.

“Our troops also descend deep underground to locate [Hamas] bunkers, command centers, communication rooms and weapon storages,” Gallant continued.

Senior Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan said during an address that Israel has so far failed to take back its captives held in Gaza by armed Palestinian groups, indicating that Israel has failed in one of its major goals of its assault.

Hamdan added that Israel’s military campaign is not only failing to secure the captives but endangering their lives altogether.

“Do not try as you will not succeed in freeing the captives alive,” Hamdan continued, stating, “All you do is endanger their lives.”

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