In eleven days of fighting, Israel used precision airstrikes to do to wreck Hamas infrastructure in Gaza and handed the militant type A blow that it’ll take years to get over.
The goal wasn’t to focus on large numbers of Hamas low-level fighters, but rather its strategic underground tunnels and infrastructure that enable it to maneuver around masses of rockets that it’s wont to target Israel.
More than 4,300 rockets were fired at Israel and Israel’s advanced Iron Dome defensive measure system intercepted most of the rocket threats to Israel’s cities. Seth J. Frantzman wrote a piece of writing on this subject.
In an interview with the pinnacle of the Israel Defense Forces southern command underground department, which played a key role within the recent conflict, the Israel Defense Forces sketched out how it went about targeting Hamas.
This initiative was a novel operation against what Israel calls the “Metro” in Gaza, a series of underground tunnels that link more than 100 kilometers beneath the geographical region.
Israel attacking Hamas, Gaza
Note that the Gaza is barely 41 km long and between 6 and 12km wide, which suggests that the underground tunnel system wasn’t only extensive but crisscrossed areas underneath the civilian buildings that compose an outsized swath of the Gaza Strip.
The area is festooned with low-rise buildings and towns and villages, making it one in all the more crowded areas within the world. While military within the past have faced underground tunnel networks and obstacles, from the munition to the Vietcong tunnel systems, Israel’s challenge was made more complex by the presence of such a big amount of civilians.
Over the years, Israel has created a way for overcoming this concern, knowing that there is intense international pressure to avoid civilian casualties. Israel has confronted this challenge within the past and in 2009 and 2014 there are large numbers of civilian casualties, as well as large numbers of casualties among Hamas fighters. Both wars involved a ground incursion.
Israel changed tactics after 2014 and there have been fewer conflicts with Hamas. However, there have been flare-ups in 2018 and 2019 that saw many rockets fired at Israel in multi-day clashes. Israel’s tactic for precision airstrikes and warnings to occupied buildings reduced the casualties in those clashes to near-zero.
That is also the tactic Israel utilized in airstrikes in Syria, of which there are thousands against Iranian targets since 2015.
There are few civilian or military casualties in those extreme precision strikes. Israel used its Joint Direct Attack munitions in Gaza, acquired from the u. s., as well as its extensive surveillance network of aircraft and other systems. Israel doesn’t specify which aircraft or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles it’s going to have used during the conflict.
“The way the Metro was built is that they have logistics and thru that, they build the whole Metro, you’ll see it from visuals and every aircraft that goes into the air that takes footage you’ll learn a bit bit about where they build,” said an Israel Defense Forces officer.
Hamas constructed shafts into the bottom with concrete to be used during the fighting. The shafts are frequently built underneath houses and Israel says that it attempted to strike the underground system usually by hitting areas that were along streets or other open areas, so as to not destroy civilian homes.
Israel weighed the relative gain by hitting the buildings compared to the harm it might do to civilian infrastructure. The underground system, consistent with the officer, links various villages and towns and Gaza city. “It is all connected underground,” the Israeli serviceman says.
“What we strike are the most places we all know they have more military use out of it and that is the place we preferred to target.” The Metro system enabled Hamas to launch barrages of long-range rockets, sometimes over 100 at a time. According to Iranian media during the recent conflict, Hamas had tried overwhelming Israel’s air defenses with these saturation rocket launches.
The Israel Defense Forces say that after it embarked on its campaign against the Metro that Hamas was less effective in targeting Israel’s cities like city. On the opposite side, Israel targeted Hamas tunnels that stretched from Gaza into Israel in 2014.
Israel then constructed a singular sensory barrier underground and above ground to stop Hamas tunneling under the border. Israel has also struck Hamas frogman and various naval units, including an unmanned submarine during this recent war.
The Israeli side has had to trot out Hamas Anti-tank missile units and cyber warfare units and now drones. The Iron Dome system downed Hamas drones for the first time during this conflict.
The importance of demolishing the Metro system was to forestall Hamas from having the ability to simply move rockets round the underground and set up the mass barrages that may be coordinated and linked to centralized command and control. In the past, Hamas often fired several rockets at a time from less sophisticated trucks and other methods.
However, Iran has perfected the employmentof recent precision missiles and therefore the hiding of rockets, such as the 107mm and 122mm employed by militias in Iraq, sothey’ll be timed and fired at a location. Hamas rockets are now much larger, including some which will reach 250 km.
“This [Metro] could be a system that they need been building for about ten years. In the 2014 war, we didn’ttargetthis method. It was not as effective and that theydidn’t have as much earlier,” says the Israeli officer.
Israel considers the system a Hamas strategy and, as such, demolishing it’s a strategic defeat, not just a tactical one for Hamas. It sets the organization back a few years.
Striking a system like this that runs throughout Gaza is feasible without hitting several civilian homes because if you strike to ends of a tunnel, the militants can find yourself being stuck inside. Additionally, the strikes on the Metro appear to have specifically harmed a Hamas system.
The other group in Gaza that has numerous rockets is Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Israel conducted a multi-day campaign against that group in 2019, also reduced its capabilities. It appears that the groups don’t share the same underground tunnels.
Hamas says that it’smore kilometers of tunnels under Gaza, and Iranian media says Hamas is rebuilding its rocket arsenal already. It had some 15,000 rockets and must replenish them.
According to the Israeli side, Hamas can rebuild the system, but it’ll take time. Hamas may are set back ten years. “We know there are places we didn’t initially strike because it’s under houses and that we decided it doesn’t benefit us thanks to the damage it will cost, we all know where it’sand the way to put it out of use in numerous ways,” the Israeli officer says.
Finally, Israel also targeted the sites Hamas uses to create the concrete for the tunnel system. They said, “If they require to rebuild they will have a harder time doing that.
There are specific Hamas concrete plants they use to create the tunnels, and that we struck those concrete plants to create them have a harder time rebuilding the tunnels if they prefer totry this.”