And I’m not talking about the music of Bob Marley and the Wailers!
Nearly two months after Hamas attacked Israel, the Israelis have begun pumping seawater into at least a part of the group’s elaborate tunnel network under the Gaza Strip, U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. Flooding the tunnels could take weeks, officials estimate.
Hamas may be keeping hostages in the tunnels. U.S. President Joe Biden expressed his hesitation over the plan when asked about it Tuesday afternoon at the White House. “Assertions [are] being made that [Israeli officials are] quite sure there are no hostages in any of these tunnels,” Biden said. “But I don’t know that for a fact,” he added.
For once I agree with Biden. Israel will claim there are no hostages in the tunnels- flood the tunnels and claim Hamas killed them, though it will be the flooding that will end their lives.
Changing winds? On Monday, Biden warned at a fundraiser that Israel still “has most of the world supporting it.” However, he cautioned, “they’re starting to lose that support by the indiscriminate bombing that takes place.”
Newly revealed: The U.S. quickly upgraded Israel’s F-35s after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante told lawmakers on Tuesday. The Pentagon gave Israel special computer files with detailed information about enemy threats. Defense One’s Audrey Decker has more, here.
Developing: White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is headed to Israel on Thursday and Friday for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “his war cabinet,” the administration said Wednesday.
SecDef inbound, too. Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin is traveling to the Middle East this week “to step up the international efforts to protect the free flow of commerce through the Red Sea,” Biden said Tuesday.
Houthis naval attacks continue: The U.S. Navy shot down another drone launched from Houthi-controlled Yemen, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. Crew on the USS Mason downed the drone as it approached their ship, according to U.S. officials.
The Houthis also launched two missiles at a commercial tanker loaded with jet fuel as it transited the Bab el-Mandeb Strait separating Yemen from Africa on Wednesday. Fortunately the missiles missed the tanker Ardmore Encounter as it traveled north toward the Suez Canal. Armed guards aboard the Encounter also reportedly “opened fire to drive off skiffs loaded with men trying to board the vessel,” AP writes.
Meanwhile, a U.S. general says Russia has found a way to jam various U.S. precision munitions brought to Ukraine, Defense One’s Sam Skove reported Tuesday. CNN had previously reported some jamming this past May. And leaked U.S. documents also stated that Russia was jamming GPS-guided bombs that the U.S. had given to Ukraine.