A Palestinian tunnel in Gaza. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Several months ago, the IDF became aware of Hamas’s intention to launch a war in the summer, a senior military source said on Thursday.
In April, Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz alerted the military that a clash with Hamas might likely start in July.
Hamas’s scheme involved simultaneous terrorist attacks against Israeli communities, IDF bases and army border patrols.
In recent months, the IDF has added large forces to the Gaza Division in preparation.
Most of the scenarios the army discussed in April have come true in the current war.
The IDF’s attacks on Hamas, which have destroyed 4,000 targets, have set the terror group’s capabilities back by four to five years, the source said.
“It can rebuild, and we will monitor that. Our deterrence was achieved by making clear that Israel does not fear a ground offensive, and by harming their capabilities.
Not enough Hamas commanders have been hit, but many of their other assets, like rocket launchers, have been,” stated the source.
“We are seeing the biggest attack by terrorists” on the region near the Gaza border, he added. Through a combination of mortar and tunnel attacks, 17 soldiers have been killed in Israeli territory.
He explained that “Hamas’s tunnels look like branches.
There’s a central stem, and several tunnels split off from it. The tunnels have more than one entrance.” Hamas has created attack cells of 10 to 15 members to go through the tunnels, he said.
Today, in the fourth week of the Gaza war, the IDF has destroyed around 85 percent of Hamas’s attack tunnels, the source went on, but noted that “there is no 100% fool-proof intelligence” about the total number of tunnels.
Looking ahead, he said that if Israel achieves a 90% intelligence success rate and employs tunnel detection technology that is successful 90% of the time, the threat can be dealt with.
Since the war began, the Armored Corps has tripled its presence in the border region. The Gaza Division uses a range of surveillance means – balloons, radar, drones – to monitor the area, and has created large lines of defense around every community. Today, every car driving near the border is accompanied by a tank, and only tanks carry out border patrols, as “jeeps are traps,” the source said.
In addition, the IDF keeps a large amount of firepower on standby to respond to attacks from across the border. It can immediately deploy the air force, artillery, and tanks to fire on positions, he said.
“Gaza will continue to be Gaza,” the source concluded. “Many challenges lie ahead.”