Sat. May 18th, 2024

Israeli ground forces are poised to enter the densely populated Gaza Strip to combat the Hamas group, which carried out a large-scale terrorist attack. The attack claimed the lives of over 1,200 Israelis, while the Israeli counterattack resulted in the deaths of 1,500 Hamas fighters. Israeli airstrikes have also claimed the lives of at least 1,300 residents of Gaza Strip, reducing several large buildings to rubble.

Although the Israeli army is prepared for a ground assault on Hamas, a decision has not yet been made by the country’s political leaders. “We are waiting to see what our political leadership decides about a potential ground incursion,” stated army spokesman Richard Hecht.

Should Israeli forces proceed with a mechanised infantry force and air support from attack helicopters, the Gaza Strip will become the battleground for intense urban warfare. The area is home to a staggering 5,500 people per square kilometer, compared to Israel’s 400 people per square kilometer.

Israeli ground forces will face several tactical challenges in the Gaza Strip. The narrow streets and lanes, coupled with densely packed buildings, will obstruct the movement of armoured vehicles and tanks due to debris from bombed-out structures. Additionally, small spaces laden with booby traps will pose significant risks for Israeli troops as they enter, verify, neutralise and clear buildings occupied by Hamas militants. The maze of tall buildings with small, dark windows also increases the potential for sniper attacks from any direction.

Furthermore, past conflicts in Syria and Ukraine have shown that small teams armed with anti-tank guided missiles and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) can inflict severe damage on a larger mechanized infantry force. The insertion of troops via helicopters also presents risks, as Hamas may possess man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS). Even unguided RPGs can be dangerous if helicopters fly too low, as demonstrated in the “Black Hawk Down” incident in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993.

Lastly, limiting collateral damage and civilian casualties will be a significant challenge for Israeli troops if an all-out assault is launched in the Gaza Strip.

The escalating conflict has raised concerns for the 2.4 million residents of Gaza, who have endured five wars within the past 15 years in the long-blockaded territory. Israel has cut off water, food, and power supplies, and Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz has stated that the total siege of Gaza will continue until nearly 150 Israeli hostages are released.

By admin