Middle East

Israel’s flooding of Gaza tunnels to make enclave unlivable for 100 years: Environmentalist

Israel begins to pump seawater into network of underground tunnels used by Palestinian fighters in Gaza

Qais Abu Samra  | 13.12.2023 - Update : 13.12.2023
Israel’s flooding of Gaza tunnels to make enclave unlivable for 100 years: Environmentalist

RAMALLAH, Palestine 

Israel’s pumping seawater into a network of underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip will make the Palestinian enclave unlivable for up to 100 years, a Palestinian environmentalist warned Wednesday.

“Israel needs 40 days to flood the tunnels with seawater,” Abdel-Rahman al-Tamimi, director of the Palestinian Hydrologists Group, the largest NGO monitoring pollution in the Palestinian territories, told Anadolu.

He said the Israeli plan would lead to contaminate the already polluted groundwater in Gaza.

“This will cause an accumulation of salt and the collapse of the soil, leading to the demolition of thousands of Palestinian homes in the densely populated strip,” he added.

Tamimi warned that Gaza’s population will suffer for years from pollution.

"The Gaza Strip will become a depopulated area, and it will take about 100 years to get rid of the environmental effects of this war," he said.

“Israel is killing the environment in the Gaza Strip,” Tamimi added.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Israeli plan to pump seawater into the tunnels used by Palestinian resistance fighters is part of a broader strategy employed by Israel to destroy the tunnels.

Israel believes the underground system has been key to Hamas operations on the battlefield.

Israel has bombarded the Gaza Strip from the air and land, imposed a siege and mounted a ground offensive in retaliation for a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7.

At least 18,412 Palestinians have been killed and 50,100 injured in the Israeli onslaught since then, according to Gaza’s health authorities.

The Israeli death toll in the Hamas attack stands at 1,200, while nearly 139 hostages remain in captivity, according to official figures.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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