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How Israel Plans to Defeat Hamas in Gaza

Joe Buccino
Foreign Policy, Nov. 3, 2023

“Inside the vast Hamas tunnel networks, the IDF’s Yahalom Unit, a specialized engineering force, will conduct targeted raids to gather enhanced intelligence. This intelligence will pinpoint Hamas’s leadership and command centers.”
As the ground war in Gaza begins, the contours of the plan to defeat Hamas are emerging. The strategy of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) focuses on isolating Gaza City and the northern region of the coastal strip, a deliberate approach influenced by U.S. pressure on Israel to limit civilian casualties and Israel’s recognition of the complexities associated with a full-scale ground incursion against a well-entrenched defense. The coming weeks will therefore likely focus on encirclement and attrition, rather than the block-by-block assault U.S. forces chose as their method of attack during the first and second battles of Fallujah in 2004.

The IDF concept reflects the nature of the kind of fighting required in Gaza: urban warfare in packed-in conditions against an underground force. This overview of IDF strategy was based on interviews with three high-ranking sources in the IDF who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about operations. The Israeli strategy appears sequential and intricate, involving raids, intelligence gathering, and holding cleared pockets. From these pockets, IDF troops plan to strike at Hamas leaders and then withdraw back to the cleared areas to request air support. If it succeeds as planned, this process will allow a slow building-out of pockets removed from Hamas control.

… [To read the full article, click here]

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