Via the IDF, shows IDF in action in Gaza, probably in Shejaiya. Impressive! I have been waiting for some live footage. This is real urban warfare, like Stalingrad or the Battle of Berlin. Urban warfare is nasty! You are often fighting an invisible yet deadly enemy. The Israelis have commandeered buildings. Also they are manning some sort of heavy machine guns out of those apartment windows.
See those buildings on fire? Buildings catch fire all the time in urban warfare. That’s one of the risks of the game.
In less than 8 hours, 13 Israeli soldiers were killed.
1:05 a.m.: An armored personnel carrier caught fire after an explosive device was set off under it. Seven soldiers were killed.
1:30 a.m.: A soldier was killed when two soldiers got into a firefight with terrorists.
5:45 a.m.: Another Golani force got into a firefight with terrorists. Two soldiers were killed.
8:50 a.m.: Three soldiers were killed when a Golani squad was caught inside a burning building.
Note the burning building in the last incident. The seven soldiers in the APC also burned to death. That’s a Hell of a way to go. I’ll take a bullet to the heart any day of week. Instant death, no suffering.
The commander of the Golani Brigade himself, Colonel Raslan Alian, a Druze, was seriously wounded. The Golani Brigade is one of the IDF’s crack divisions. Pro-Israelis say he was only slightly hurt, but this is not true. He was evacuated to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, a hospital that would only treat seriously wounded soldiers.
There are 44 other wounded soldiers at that hospital and a number of others at other nearby hospitals. The commander was hit near or in the eye with a bullet. Hardly a minor wound. He has retained his sight, but he is going to need some plastic surgery, probably from damage to his face near the eye. He is a very brave man, and he has been agitating to get back into the fight while he has been in the hospital, but the doctors will not let him go back.
There is also a possible report from no less than Debka that the Israeli Defense Minister himself may have been wounded in an exploding tunnel trap that wounded four other troops. No confirmation on this yet.
Hamas is reporting that they have taken an IDF soldier POW, and they are displaying his ID cards. The IDF says they are looking into the claim, which implies there may be something to it. However, a soldier with a very similar name has a Facebook page that is now flooded with messages because he was supposedly killed in action. Hamas has released a photo of the soldier being taken prisoner, but it appears to be fake. The situation is very confused.
When the IDF advanced into the Shejaiya area, they were faced with landmines, IED’s, RPG’s, anti-tank guns and a torrent of automatic weapons fire. Most of the fighters seemed to be hidden in homes in the area.
A truce was briefly called in the fighting to let civilians flee the area.
The purpose of this mission is to destroy the many tunnels that Hamas has dug under the Gaza fence going into Israel. These tunnels are highly sophisticated, and some even have pop-up windows where fighters can pop out of the tunnel, fire and duck back in. The tunnels caught the Israelis by surprise. They had no idea such an extensive network existed. Hamas has taken a lesson from Hezbollah with the creation of a large tunnel network. I suspect that they had Hezbollah assistance in creating it also.
In addition, Hamas has created a gigantic underground city which is situated in the middle of Gaza City. This also is highly sophisticated and is where most of the Hamas military and political leadership has been hiding out during the fighting. This is also where their best missiles are stored.
The smuggling tunnels under Rafah to Egypt are still working. Both the Israelis and the Egyptians shut them down from time to time, but they just go right back up again.
Hamas also has drones! Hamas has so far flown three drones over Israel, including one which they claim flew over the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv!
This claim may be correct.
One of the drones vanished, and another one was shot down over Ashdod.
Hezbollah may have helped them acquire those drones as Hezbollah knows how to make these things.
Israeli Arab towns in the north of Israel and Bedouin settlements in the South of the state in general get no bomb shelters. Those are only for Jews you know. Wink, wink. Furthermore, most of the IDF bases in northern Israel have been deliberately planted very close to Arab settlements. The idea being that if you attack the bases, you may just kill some of your fellow Arabs too.
Debka claims that Hamas has 110,000 men under arms. That is a very high figure, but I imagine they may be correct. Hamas is now threatening to give teenage boys hand grenades and have them rush tanks in suicide missions. That’s typical Arab callousness and brutality, but it would also be bad PR for Israel.
ISIS, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades and the major Salafist organization in the Sinai all state that they are now operating in Gaza. The latter two released videos showing them shooting rockets at Israel. There are videos on Youtube showing young Gaza men pledging allegiance to ISIS. They claim that Hamas has let them down, and they are calling on ISIS to come save them.
Obama recently called Netanyahu and expressed concern about civilian casualties in the Gaza operation. Israel is probably trying to minimize civilian casualties as they are a PR nightmare. Previously, the US government had backed the Gaza invasion 100%. The Jewish-controlled US Senate voted 100-0 the other day to unequivocally support the Gaza invasion. Barack’s call can only mean one thing: This invasion is starting to turn into a PR mess for Israel.
The IDF is clearly one of the world’s crack militaries, but Hamas and its allies have been fighting very well during this battle. I have been quite surprised at their fighting capabilities. Very impressive!
What we are witnessing here is really a battle between two armies – one rather poorly equipped, granted – but an army nevertheless. The Palestinians are guerrillas and terrorists no more. Hamas now takes its place among the world’s military forces.
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