Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari during his daily briefing on May 7th (video capture)

In a stark revelation, the Israeli military spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, has declared that "Gaza is perhaps one of the most difficult battlefields in the world, in terms of its population density and the tunnels which Hamas dug underground."  Speaking at the high-profile "People of the State" conference by Ynet, in Tel Aviv, Hagari highlighted the relentless challenges faced by Israeli forces, particularly in Rafah, which he noted remains a volatile hotspot despite ongoing military efforts.

"The Israeli public's unwavering support is crucial. The events of October 7 have reshaped our strategies and our readiness to endure and learn from criticism," Hagari stated, referencing the notorious date that was the worst massacre of Jews in one day since the Holocaust. 

Under the leadership of the Chief of Staff, the Israeli military has embarked on an extensive campaign, anticipated to span a year, aimed at dismantling the intricate network of tunnels and defenses that Hamas has entrenched across Gaza. "Gaza is not just a battlefield; it's a fortress of tunnels and traps, designed to wear down even the most advanced armies," Hagari added.

The toll has been heavy. Since the conflict escalated on October 7, 2023, the Israeli military reports the death of 614 officers and soldiers, with injuries topping 3,362. The assault on October 7th resulted in 1,200 deaths and over 5,000 injuries, mostly to civilians. The delay in advancing operations in Rafah was strategic, given the dense civilian presence and the city's comparative insignificance next to targets like Khan Yunis and northern Gaza, which have already been neutralized. Israel has been praised by military officials and scholars across the world for its extrmely low combatant to civilian death ratio, that is around 1 combatant to 1.5 civilians. Compared with other conflicts, like the Battle of Faluja which is a densely populated city in Iraq and had a 1 to 2.5 ratio, it shows how methodical the Israeli forces have been.

Hagari issued a stern warning about Hamas' potential to regroup. "We are prepared to strike relentlessly, regardless of Hamas' maneuvers to the north or center of Gaza. Our control over the Rafah crossing, a critical juncture for Hamas' logistics, including their exploitation of humanitarian aid, marks a turning point in the conflict."

The recent U.S. decision to withhold a significant arms shipment intended for Israel has stirred diplomatic undercurrents, yet Hagari affirmed the robust and unprecedented coordination between Israel and the United States, emphasizing that any disputes would be settled away from the public eye.

This conflict, triggered by a horrific invasion by Hamas on October 7, has been met with a decisive Israeli response, marking a new chapter in Israel's defense against terrorism and its quest for security within its borders.

Sign Up For The Judean Newsletter

I agree with the Terms and conditions and the Privacy policy