Ready Or Not
IDF: We're ready for battle
Military officials say IDF ready to face 15,000-men Hamas army; Israeli troops expected to face massive roadside bombs, Palestinian snipers. 'Anyone who thinks we'll be conducting ourselves gently is wrong,' senior officer tells Ynet
IDF prepares for major Gaza battle: Israeli forces are ready to embark on a ground assault in Gaza, a senior military officer told Ynet Wednesday, adding that "anyone who thinks we'll be conducting ourselves gently is wrong."
"Hamas has indeed prepared for this, but so did we," the IDF official said.
IDF officers say they are closely familiar with Hamas' military buildup but add that troops are prepared for the mission ahead. Ever since the Second Lebanon War, the IDF has been engaged in intensive training sessions and preparations ahead of a possible clash in the Strip. A ground assault on Gaza will be a challenge, yet military officials are saying loud and clear: "We're ready."
In recent years, Hamas has been engaged in a military buildup ahead of a possible IDF incursion. IDF officials familiar with the group's efforts say the organization comprises more than 15,000 troops, including Special Forces members and intelligence personnel.
Hamas' army has been built in a hierarchical manner, and includes divisions, regiments, and platoons. The group's forces underwent an orderly training program, with some Hamas members sent for training in Syria and Iran. Moreover, Gaza Strip tunnels, some of which were destroyed in IDF bombings in recent days, have been used for smuggling in large quantities of explosives, the IDF says. The weapons that poured into Gaza include anti-tank rockets.
Hamas 'surprises' for IDF?
Army officials say IDF troops should be expecting "nature reserves," similarly to what soldiers encountered in Lebanon while fighting Hizbullah. Hamas is believed to have prepared numerous underground sites containing various weapons.
Military officials estimate that similarly to Hizbullah, which had some "surprises" for the IDF during the Second Lebanon War, Hamas may also be in possession of arms that Israel has no knowledge of.
"During the confrontation, Hamas will attempt to operate in an orderly manner and utilize many types of arms, such as explosive devices, snipers, and cells that will attempt to hit our forces," an IDF officer said. "We prepared in terms of protective equipment and also engaged in training exercises in order to address these threats.
The IDF's first challenge in case of a ground assault will likely be in the form of roadside bombs aimed at targeting tanks and armored vehicles. Hamas is believed to have dug pits in many Gaza roads and placed powerful explosive devices underground before covering them with cement. However, the Air Force's massive assault in the early days of Operation Cast Lead damaged dozens of Hamas facilities and may undermine the group's efforts.
Without giving anything away I think the IDF is much better prepared for the Gaza war than they were for the Second Lebanon war.