Palestinian groups expect Israel to flood Hamas tunnels with a type of nerve gas or chemical weapon under the surveillance of US Delta Force commandos as part of a surprise attack on the Gaza Strip, a senior Arab source familiar with the Palestinian groups told Middle East Eye.
Israel and the US hope to achieve the element of surprise in order to penetrate Hamas tunnels, rescue an estimated 220 hostages, and kill thousands of soldiers belonging to Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades, the source said, noting that the information they received came from a leak originating in the US.
Middle East Eye cannot independently verify the information in the leak.
“The plan hinges on the element of surprise so as to decisively win the battle, using internationally forbidden gases, particularly nerve gas, and chemical weapons. Large quantities of nerve gas would be pumped into the tunnels,” the source said.
The source added that the US Delta Force will oversee “large quantities of nerve gas being pumped into Hamas tunnels, capable of paralysing the bodily movement for a period of time between six and 12 hours.
“Inhaled or absorbed through the skin, most nerve gases can kill in anywhere between one to 10 minutes by crippling the respiratory centre of the central nervous system and paralysing the muscles around the lungs.
Symptoms of exposure to the agent include nausea and violent headaches, blurred vision, drooling, muscle convulsions, respiratory arrest and loss of consciousness.
“During this period, the tunnels would be penetrated, the hostages rescued and thousands of al-Qassam soldiers killed,” the source added.
MEE reached out to the White House and US Defense Department for comment but did not receive a response by time of publication.
The US is coordinating with Israel ahead of its expected invasion of Gaza, with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin holding near-daily phone calls with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, to discuss operations.
Senior US military officials with knowledge of urban warfare have also been dispatched to Israel.
The source said that Israel’s delay in its ground invasion was misinformation aimed at gaining the element of surprise in a multifaceted attack that will include Israeli commandos landing in northern Gaza and along the coast.
The operational details of the attack have already been agreed upon, according to the source.
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israel had agreed to delay its expected ground invasion to allow the US more time to place air defence systems in the region.
Netanyahu said later on Wednesday that Israel is preparing a ground invasion but gave no indication of timing or other details.