Israeli troops are inside the Strip, a conflict that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers the “second war of independence”
AND’ what is the second phase of its operations against Hamas has begun, which controls the Gaza Strip. It is the beginning, without the ‘D-Day’ style assault but with the ‘Fallujah’ nightmare, of what Israeli leaders have said could be a long and difficult war, which would see the hostages rescued Hamas destroyed the group, establishing a new entity to govern the Palestinian enclave. Israeli troops are inside the Strip, a conflict that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers the “second war of independence”. Taken after the terrible attack by Hamas in Israel on October 7th.
The Israelis declined to clarify whether the expanded operations represent the start of the expected major ground incursion. The first movements, even the short-term objectives, of the Israeli military’s ground operation remained – highlights the Washington Post – shrouded in secrecy. The term “gradual” resonated. According to the United Nations, the ground operations now include the “most intense Israeli air raids and artillery bombardments” since the beginning of the conflict more than three weeks ago. And a general picture begins to emerge, while Gaza reports a toll of over eight thousand deaths in less than a month.
The images released by Israel
The IDF released black and white images showing tanks, armored vehicles and troops in Gaza. No revelations about how many soldiers entered the Strip, how far they penetrated inside or the positions in which they are located. These are not the “targeted” incursions that the IDF confirmed they had carried out last week.
And, instead of the massive assault, according to military analysts in Israel it seems that the IDF is moving slowly, with cautionlooking for Hamas booby traps to destroy, tunnels around the perimeter of the Strip, a small strip of land, and preparing ‘corridors’ for the rapid deployment of tanks and troops on the outskirts of Gaza City.
At the moment – says Michael Milshtein, head of the Forum for Palestinian Studies at Tel Aviv University and with a background in Israeli intelligence – Israeli troops operate mainly on the edges of this patch of land, in camps and in cleared locations by the inhabitants, around the Erez crossing in northern Gaza.
AND for when Israeli forces enter Gaza City and the refugee camps that surround it, several analysts – including Milshtein – they fear intense and bloody fighting in an urban context and speak of “Fallujah”. The mind goes back to 2004, to the war in Iraq, to the assault that ended with at least 95 American soldiers killed and more than a thousand Iraqis dead.
Yoel Guzansky, formerly of the Israeli National Security Council and now of the Institute for National Security Studies, explained that the troops sent by Israel – probably elite infantry and military engineering units (whose number is unknown ) are deployed in the border areas, on the northern and eastern edges. And, according to Guzansky, there are two tactical objectives: to identify and clear explosive traps, IEDs and other obstacles (natural or artificial) to the entry of a larger number of troops and to understand the “enemy”, the “new Hamas” with its his abilities and weapons.
For Kobi Michel, researcher at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies, the offensive is starting to create a ‘safe path’ for operations in the Strip with “raids deeper and deeper every night” while “all roads from the border to Gaza City are being cleared.” The “massive ground incursion” is the “third phase of the operation”, he says, speaking of the “graduality” of this conflict. “We will not fight in the tunnels, 30-40 meters underground,” he said. “We have, I assume, creative means and methods that will allow us to destroy these tunnels over the heads of the Hamas terrorists who are hiding inside them.”