A former top US general has starkly warned that Israel’s ground war against Hamas in the Gaza strip could take years to finish and may end up being like ‘Mogadishu on steroids.’
David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA and the US’ top general in both Iraq and Afghanistan, warned that the IDF’s current plan of a bombing campaign followed by a major land invasion of the 140 square mile patch of land ‘could be Mogadishu on steroids very quickly.’
The warning, made to Politico, referenced the two-day battle between US forces and Somalia National Alliance (SNA) and armed citizens in Somalia’s capital city in 1993.
Three US Black Hawk choppers were downed by resistance forces, leading to bloody urban fighting over several hours that ended up being the deadliest single battle fought by US soldiers since the Vietnam War.
Though the US won the battle in the end, 18 American soldiers died, and a further 73 were wounded, while Somali casualties were estimated to be as high as 700.
David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA and the US’ top general in both Iraq and Afghanistan, (pictured) warned that an offensive campaign may take several years
Israel is currently preparing to storm Gaza, following a series of attacks by Hamas
Patraeus, 70, warned that Hamas may deploy complex and devastating tactics and strategies in its defence of Gaza
Patraeus, 70, warned that Hamas may deploy complex and devastating tactics and strategies that may result in a similarly Pyrrhic victory for Israel.
‘If [Hamas] as creative in the defense as they were in that horrific, barbaric, unspeakable attack, then you’ll see suicide bombers, you’ll see improvised explosive devices, there will be ambushes, booby traps, and the urban setting, again, could not be more challenging.’
He warned that the IDF’s proposed offensive may take years to complete: ‘It’s hard for me to imagine a more difficult setting than this particular one, and I was one who commanded forces in a number of major urban operations.
‘You don’t win counterinsurgencies in a year or two. They typically take a decade or more, as we saw in Iraq, as we saw in Afghanistan.’
The former top general’s comments comes after Israel’s troops were reportedly given more freedom to shoot at potential enemies in Gaza, and may have to spend up to 18 months going door-to-door to root out Hamas terrorists.
Palestinians are seen near debris of destroyed buildings after Israeli airstrikes at al-Zahra neighbourhood in Gaza Strip on Thursday
Palestinians gather around residential buildings destroyed in Israeli strikes in Zahra City on Thursday
Residential buildings destroyed in Israeli strikes are seen in Zahra City on Thursday
Members of the Palestinian civil defence look for survivors in the rubble of a building hit during Israeli bombardment in Khan Yunis on the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday
People gather by the rubble of a destroyed building following Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday
The ground troops will include tanks, sappers and commandos, with cover provided by war planes, helicopter gunships, aerial drones and artillery fired from land and sea, The New York Times reported.
They have been given additional training in how to operate in the heavily-bombed areas of Gaza, and have been planning for the expected Hamas ambush and booby traps.
Three Israeli sources told the paper that rules of engagement have been loosened to allow IDF forces to make snap decisions about potential enemies.
Nimrod Novik, a former senior Israeli diplomat and security adviser to the Israeli government, told the paper that some within Israel’s military establishment want troops to go door-to-door for 18 months, flushing out and killing top Hamas leaders.
Relatives of Palestinians killed during an Israeli air strike mourn over their bodies at a hospital in Khan Yunis on the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday
People carry the bodies of Palestinians killed during an Israeli air strike outside a hospital in Khan Yunis on the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday
A man carries away the body of a person killed in Israeli bombardment after being rescued from the rubble of a building in Rafah in the southern of Gaza Strip on Thursday
A woman cries as she stands in a heavily damaged house following Israeli bombardment in Rafah on Thursday
The father of Alma Al Majayda, three, holds her body after she was killed in Israeli strikes,
People weep as Palestinian civil defence members and others search for survivors in Khan Yunis
‘Others, I think, are far more sober and not talking about demolishing Hamas, but rather depriving Hamas of their ability to threaten us,’ said Novik.
Israel’s military says it is preparing for the ‘next stages of the war’ against Hamas, which could include ‘strikes from the air, sea and land’ with ‘significant ground operations.’
The effort involves hundreds of thousands of drafted reservists and will encompass ‘a wide range of operational offensive plans,’ the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
In addition to the ‘combined and coordinated strikes,’ the Israeli Ground Forces and the military’s logistics leadership are preparing IDF troops for an ‘expanded arena of combat,’ the statement said.