Tue. May 21st, 2024

Israel has deployed its infantry and armoured units along the Gaza Strip border, giving Gazans 24 hours to evacuate before an anticipated ground offensive in response to the deadliest terrorist attack in Israeli history. If Israeli forces enter the Gaza Strip, it is expected to trigger intense urban warfare due to the densely populated nature of the area. Gaza is home to twenty lakh people living in just 365 square kilometers, resulting in a population density of 5,500 people per sqkm compared to Israel’s 400 people per sqkm.

The layout of Gaza’s narrow roads and lanes does not make them ideal battlegrounds for tanks and large armored vehicles. Attackers can take advantage of the close proximity and tall buildings to use nooks and crannies to launch anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM). If Israeli forces enter the Gaza Strip, it is highly likely that they will face entrenched fighting from building to building, close-quarter battles (QCBs), and hand-to-hand combat. The Israel-Gaza war will join the list of recent urban warfare conflicts, including Ukraine, the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, the war in Syria, and the Battle of Mosul in Iraq.

Urban offensives in Syria and Iraq have resulted in eight times more conflict-related civilian fatalities in four governorates in comparison to fighting in other areas, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Urban warfare is complex and multidimensional, with no fixed positions. The Syrian urban warfare experience highlights the complexity, high human casualties, and geopolitical consequences of such conflicts. In Ukraine, small anti-tank teams have proven to be extremely effective against armored formations. Anti-tank weapons are used to engage Russian tanks directly in urban terrain, exploiting the lack of infantry support.

The current situation in the Gaza Strip is further complicated by Hamas holding around 150 Israeli, foreign, and dual-national hostages, according to the Israeli government. The Israeli army has called on Gaza City residents to move to the area south of the Wadi Gaza as part of their ground operation. The IDF has vowed to avoid harming civilians and has accused Hamas of using tunnels and buildings populated with innocent civilians to hide. Gaza’s residents, already enduring the fifth war in 15 years, are facing a total siege with limited access to water, food, and power supplies. Hamas has threatened to harm captives if Israel bombs civilian targets without warning.

The US has pledged unwavering support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas.

By admin