The situation in Israel continues to deteriorate as the Israeli Defense Forces are getting ready for a major ground offensive operation inside the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military has amassed a significant force on the border with Gaza, with hundreds of thousands of forces and hundreds of heavy weapon systems.
While the Israeli ground forces are getting ready, the Israeli Air Force continues to bound targets in Gaza and Lebanon.
A Deteriorating Situation
On day 11 of the war between Israel and Hamas, the death toll continues to rise. At least 1,400 Israeli service members, law enforcement officers, and civilians have been killed in the fighting thus far. On the other side, Palestinian officials claim that about 2,800 Hamas terrorists and civilians have been killed in the fighting and close to 10,000 wounded. Hamas continues to hold up to 250 hostages, including U.S. citizens.
According to the IDF, more than 600,000 Palestinians have followed Tel Aviv’s instructions and have left Gaza City in the north for specially designated areas in the south of the territory. However, about 100,000 Palestinians remain in the north.
Meanwhile, European countries, including Germany, continue to call on Israel to allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza. For the last few days, the Israeli military has imposed a complete embargo on Gaza, not allowing any supplies to enter the territory and cutting off the electricity and water (after intense international pressure, the Israelis reopened the water supply).
The Israelis, however, argue that Hamas is hijacking humanitarian aid intended for civilians and is instead using it to support its operations.
Besides the ongoing fighting in the south, the Israeli military is aware of the danger posed by Hezbollah in the north. Part of the Axis of Resistance along with Hamas and Iran, Hezbollah could decide to strike if Israeli forces move into Gaza. However, without any way to contest Israeli air dominance, the Hezbollah forces would be extremely vulnerable.
Airstrikes and Targeted Strikes
The Israeli response to the Hamas terrorist attack has thus far focused on airstrikes. Since October 7, the Israeli Air Force has struck over 5,000 targets in Israel and Gaza.
On Tuesday, in one of the airstrikes, the IDF killed Ayman Nofal, a senior Hamas operative and a former head of the terrorist organization’s military intelligence.
“Nofal directed many attacks against Israeli civilians and besides being one of the most dominant figures in the terrorist organization, he was involved in the planning of the abduction of Gilad Shalit [an Israeli soldier who was captured by Hamas in 2006 and spent five years in captivity]. We won’t stop until we eliminate Hamas,” the Israeli Defense Forces state.
However, the Israeli airstrikes are also killing a very large number of innocent civilians. On an airstrike against a hospital on Tuesday night, the Israeli Air Force killed approximately 500 people and the kill count continues to rise.
Tel Aviv claims that Hamas is using civilians as human shields by setting up its bases and operational centers in or near civilian targets.
As the superior and more technologically advanced force, the Israeli military has the burden to fight as cleanly as possible and within the limits of international law.
From the Vault
A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and is pursuing a J.D. at Boston College Law School. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.