International

Gaza’s Urban Warfare: Israel’s Ground Invasion Amidst Global Concern

Challenges, Risks, and the High Stakes in the Conflict

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to keep the conflict in Gaza in early November, despite the worldwide pressure for a cease-fire. “We are in a tough struggle,” he said. “We will no longer stop until we attain victory.”

Israel launched the ground invasion of the Gaza Strip after a month of bombardment of Gaza. The death toll increased to more than 10,000 innocents, and ladies and children became the major victims of Israeli aggression. The Israeli forces have broken up Gaza into 2 parts and remain in Gaza City, where the majority of the population lives. The urban battle is expected to strengthen quickly.

“Israeli troops are thoroughly prepared for this operation,” Frank Ledwidge, a British navy analyst from Portsmouth University, said. “They have more enjoy in urban fighting than any other army in the world.”
The Israeli military has been practicing house-to-house fighting in a unique facility within the Negev desert for years. But now they ought to face the truth of war. The US agencies warned the Israeli military about the hazards of the ground attack before it started.

The US has learned hard lessons in 2016 and 2017 when fighting against the “Islamic State” institution in Syria and Iraq, inflicting many civilian deaths. Some estimates say that around 10,000 civilians were killed at some stage in the 9-month-long struggle for Mosul. The fighting became brutal within the streets and homes of the metropolis.

Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization with the aid of the EU, Germany, America, and others, has more guns and help from Iran and Hezbollah, an Islamist military based in Lebanon. US President Joe Biden had already implored Israel not to repeat the USA’s mistake after the September 11 attacks and act out of anger.

Israel has a much larger navy than Hamas. Israel referred to up to 300,000 reservists after the October 7 assault, and Hamas has about 40,000 opponents. But the Palestinian militants have a huge gain: They know the terrain and have been making ready for this for a long term.
Ledwidge explained some of the specific challenges of urban warfare. He said that booby traps are the biggest problem. Many buildings, which are now in ruins after Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire, have hidden explosives. It is hard and dangerous to remove them.

The tunnel system in Gaza is another problem. Ledwidge said that in crowded areas, “fighters can move between buildings without going outside.” This means that Israeli soldiers can be easily ambushed.
“Urban fighting is a three-dimensional activity,” Ledwidge said. “You can be attacked from the front, from the back, from above [with drones], and in Gaza, also from below [with tunnels].”

Israeli soldiers also face the risk of being kidnapped and held hostage. They would join the more than 200 Israeli civilians who are still in Hamas’ hands. Hamas can use them to negotiate. However, many experts think that Hamas would kill them if the Israeli army tried to rescue them.
The dilemma of protecting civilians

Alok Verma

Alok Verma is an accomplished International Reporter at IndiaFocus with a deep-seated passion for global affairs and cross-border stories. With an impressive track record in international journalism, Alok is dedicated… More »

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