Title: Israel Preparing for Complex Urban Warfare as it Plans to Enter Gaza and Confront Hamas
Israel is gearing up for a massive operation to enter the Gaza Strip and destroy Hamas, the well-armed and deeply dug-in enemy. With thousands of anti-tank weapons, drones, and small arms at their disposal, Hamas will employ various strategies to combat the Israeli forces. The upcoming operation will be a significant challenge for the Israeli troops, who will be attacking multiple cities in the Gaza Strip. John Spencer, chairman of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute, states that this mission will be combat in hell. In this article, we will delve into the specific challenges that Israel will face and how Hamas has evolved its tactics to pose a formidable threat to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
The Scale of the Operation:
Israel has reportedly amassed around 400,000 troops and 300-plus tanks for the operation, with plans to enter Gaza from multiple directions. Gaza City is likely to be the main focus of the operation, but Israel may also utilize surprise attacks and deception tactics, similar to the 2nd battle of Fallujah, to confuse Hamas fighters. This operation will differ from the 2014 conflict, as it will involve simultaneous attacks on multiple cities.
The Challenges of Urban Combat:
Urban warfare is known to be the most complex and challenging type of warfare, and the dense urban terrain of the Gaza Strip further complicates the situation. The presence of noncombatants and the restraints imposed by the laws of war make it difficult for military forces to navigate and engage the enemy. Hamas has had nearly a decade to prepare for this confrontation, making them a better-armed, better-organized, and more disciplined opponent than ever before.
Threats Posed by Hamas:
Rockets and Mortars: Hamas possesses a substantial arsenal of rockets and mortars, with recent reports suggesting they have over eight thousand rockets at their disposal. These weapons pose a significant danger to Israeli forces, especially their command posts and troop concentration areas outside Gaza. The density of IDF forces being sent into Gaza makes rear support and staging areas susceptible to attacks. Although Israel’s Iron Dome system can provide some protection, Hamas’ fast-moving mortar teams can pose a serious threat to Israeli forces within Gaza.
Drones: Hamas is now equipped with a range of drones, from military-grade suicide drones to modified commercial quadcopters capable of dropping munitions. They have demonstrated their drone capabilities during recent attacks and have access to larger drones similar to those used by Russian forces in Ukraine. The IDF’s electronic warfare and counter-drone capabilities will be put to the test during this operation, as Hamas is expected to employ drones extensively in the dense urban environment.
Tunnels: Hamas has constructed an extensive tunnel network, known as the “Gaza Metro,” stretching for scores of miles. These tunnels serve both offensive and defensive purposes for Hamas fighters. They will maneuver attackers underground, launch surprise attacks, and move between fighting positions to avoid IDF firepower. Destroying these tunnels completely and preventing their reconstitution will be a considerable challenge for the IDF.
Human Shields: The IDF has highlighted the challenge of engaging Hamas fighters who deliberately hide among innocent civilians. The use of human shields by Hamas further complicates the mission, as the IDF must take precautions to minimize civilian casualties while targeting combatants.
As Israel prepares to enter Gaza and confront Hamas, it faces numerous challenges in this complex urban warfare scenario. Hamas’ possession of rockets, mortars, drones, and tunnels have elevated their tactical capabilities. The IDF will have to navigate a densely populated area while minimizing civilian casualties and effectively engaging the enemy. This operation will test Israel’s military prowess and its ability to adapt to the evolving tactics of Hamas. The coming days and weeks will prove decisive in determining the outcome of this conflict.