NewsIsrael announces siege of the Gaza Strip

Israel announces siege of the Gaza Strip

Israel announces siege of the Gaza Strip
Israel announces siege of the Gaza Strip
Images source: © PAP | PAP/EPA/MOHAMMED SABER
5:16 PM EDT, October 9, 2023

It is obvious that Hamas took Israelis hostage in order to protect themselves from the revenge of the Israeli army. Therefore, the ground operation in the Gaza Strip will be an extremely difficult task - says Col. Piotr Lewandowski, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Galant ordered a "complete siege" of the Gaza Strip on Monday. - There will be no electricity, food, fuel; everything will be closed. We're fighting savages - he described these actions. Unofficial information from American media suggests that within 24-48 hours, Israel will begin a land military operation in the Gaza Strip, home to 2 million people. What can be expected from the new stage of Israel's war with Hamas in Palestine? This is explained by Col. Res. Piotr Lewandowski, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in a conversation with WP.

- The key task is an attempt to rescue hostages captured in Israel by Hamas. It's clear that they are to become shields protecting the organization from the revenge of the Israeli army. I think that their fate is being decided by the passing hours. The later it gets, the harder it will be to free them - says a military expert.

- The Israeli army surely had plans to enter the Gaza Strip beforehand. It can be anticipated that heavy armored brigades will surround and cut off this area. If soldiers later enter the city itself, urban warfare will begin. In Gaza, every child, woman, man, or elder sincerely hates Jews. For the soldiers who would go in there, it will be the worst nightmare - says Colonel Lewandowski further.

Is Hamas waiting for the Israeli army?

The WP interlocutor estimates that a ground invasion will be an extremely difficult task. - We do not know what the Israeli commanders will decide. How do you single out members of Hamas from a densely populated area? If they began to level neighborhoods with artillery, it means casualties among civilians. Nobody will commend that. I fear that Hamas is only waiting for the start of a ground invasion to draw Israel into bloody confrontations - evaluates.

On Monday, media reports indicated that Israel had amassed tens of thousands of soldiers and heavy armored equipment around the Gaza Strip. According to experts, this suggests that entering enemy territory is very likely.

- At this moment, the majority of the Israeli society is demanding vengeance. However, when conscripted soldiers start to die or get taken hostage, these sentiments can change. Each victim could be perceived as the fault of the government or the military. This might limit the effectiveness of the Israeli government's actions - comments Col. Lewandowski.

"Liquid lead". Will history repeat itself as in past years?

Israeli military officials are announcing that they are moving into the phase of "complete destruction of Hamas". It was reported that air strikes on 800 targets in the Gaza Strip were carried out. The targets that were destroyed were identified as command and intelligence centers of the terrorist organization. However, according to a WP correspondent, Israel's response so far has been too predictable to cause major damage to Hamas's leadership. - In this clash, the fighters have shown cunning and caution. They had to assume that Israel would react this way - adds Lewandowski.

At the turn of 2008 and 2009, Israel already conducted a ground operation in the Gaza Strip code-named "Liquid Lead". At that time, the ground forces played the role of reconnaissance, which identified targets for the aviation. During the three-week battles, several Israeli soldiers were killed, and over 500 were injured. According to Palestinian sources, on the other side, 1350 people were killed, including hundreds of civilians. The operation ended with a ceasefire.

The number of casualties from the Palestinian Hamas attack on Israel which began on Saturday has exceeded 700, with 493 Palestinians killed - according to statements from both sides of the conflict. Over the weekend, more than 3200 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip. An unspecified number of Israeli citizens were taken as hostages by fighters and transported to the Gaza Strip.

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