January 30, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Floods Some Gaza Tunnels

January 30, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Floods Some Gaza Tunnels

Latest Developments

Israeli forces are disabling some Gaza tunnels through flooding, the military announced on January 30. More than a month after foreign media reports surfaced of preparations to pump Mediterranean seawater into the subterranean network set up by Hamas, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the project was underway. The method is just one way Israel is countering the tunnel threat.

In separate remarks, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant appeared to signal that Israel was confident that it would complete its campaign against the Hamas tunnels. “It is difficult, it is complicated, it exacts a price, but it is finite. And we are gradually moving forward on this issue,” he told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Expert Analysis

“Israeli ingenuity has come through again, and under fire. Even as it discovers that the Hamas tunnel network was more extensive than expected, the IDF has been expanding countermeasures and pressing the offensive. This is a good way of preserving the momentum of the core efforts to remove the Hamas threat even if a ceasefire is called to enable the recovery of hostages.” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Israel’s decision to use water to erode the Hamas tunnels in Gaza is one of many methods Israel is using to dismantle the immense tunnel threat that Hamas created. There are hundreds of miles of tunnels, and using water to disrupt some of them is an innovative method Israel has employed. It is essential that Israel be supported in its efforts to uproot the terrorist infrastructure, including the tunnels, throughout Gaza.”Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

“By flooding tunnels, the Israeli military can flush out terrorists that pose a danger to troops that would have otherwise entered. Moreover, Hamas consistently sets up booby traps in these tunnels. This new approach offers a considerably safer alternative, reducing the likelihood of severe injury or fatalities to Israeli soldiers.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Flooding Is One of Many Methods Against Tunnels

On December 13, The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel was using seven pumps to move seawater from the Mediterranean Sea into the tunnels. Asked during a December 5 media briefing whether the IDF was flooding Hamas’s tunnels, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi called it “a good idea” without confirming or denying the reports.

Israeli forces use a variety of techniques to destroy Hamas’s tunnels, including airstrikes, liquid explosives, and robots and drones. Israel has also sealed tunnel entrances with a cement-like substance. Among the various weapons provided to Israel by the United States to destroy the tunnels are 2,000-pound BLU-109 bunker-buster bombs. Over the past decade, Egypt has used seawater, sewage, and gas to destroy smuggling tunnels running between Gaza and the Sinai.

10 Things to Know About Hamas Tunnels,” FDD Insight

Up to 40 Percent of Hamas Terror Tunnels in Gaza Damaged or Destroyed,” FDD Flash Brief

Seawater Flooding of Hamas Terror Tunnels Begun by IDF, U.S. Officials Say,” FDD Flash Brief


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