Israel’s limited ground operation in Gaza


A contingent of Israeli tanks and infantry crossed briefly into Northern Gaza early yesterday (Thursday), to test and target Hamas border infrastructure.

If Israel invades Gaza (as it’s vowed to do), its soldiers will encounter:

  • Around 50,000 enemy forces (between Hamas and other groups)
  • Asymmetrical systems like drones and anti-tank weapons
  • Entrenched urban positions that offer a defensive advantage
  • The continued presence of civilians and hostages
  • A tunnel network up to 500km long (100km longer than the New York City subway system), and
  • The possibility of more fronts opening up elsewhere.

And this is all while Israel tries to sustain support across a world that’s watching along in high-def.

Intrigue’s take: Israel’s delay was initially attributed to weather, but the list of possible reasons is now getting long: tough questions from the USUK and France; pressure from hostage families and their governments; the need for a longer-term plan; and more time for the US to deploy deterrence.

But as we approach three weeks since the Hamas attacks, this latest ground incursion suggests Israel still very much plans to go in.

Also worth noting:

  • We discussed Israel’s delay in today’s Intrigue Outloud podcast.
  • Israel says it’s struck more than 7,000 targets inside Gaza since 7 October. Around 6,500 people have been killed in Gaza in the same period, according to the strip’s Hamas-controlled health ministry.
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