Israel is vowing to destroy Hamas. But what are Israeli forces up against? Scripps News analyzed videos and pictures shared by Hamas to understand the scale of the fight ahead.
First, Hamas has both a political wing and military wing. Their military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigade, carried out Saturday’s surprise terror attack. Their exact numbers aren’t known, though in 2021 a senior IDF commander told the Times of Israel they were at 30,000 men.
One of Hamas’ primary ways of attacking Israel has been the indiscriminate use of rockets. They fire rockets into Israel and most, but not all, are usually intercepted. This is how the group has inflicted some of the heaviest tolls on Israel in the past. Hamas uses at least 11 domestically produced rocket types with varying ranges.
Hamas has already targeted and hit Tel Aviv — about 40 miles from Gaza — since the war broke out.
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza had a stockpile of about 30,000 rockets.
Hamas also has some limited anti-air capabilities. The group shows themselves using shoulder-held anti-air launchers in recently-released propaganda videos — they claim they were filmed during this recent offensive.
Another video released by the group shows a newer anti-air system that hasn’t been seen before. Still, it seems to have limited targeting ability for hitting aircraft.
This latest offensive showed that Hamas has adapted to fighting in ways that Israel wasn’t prepared for — like using small civilian drones to attack from a distance.
Recent videos shared by Hamas show how the group used these drones to hit automated security turrets and communication towers on the border.
With those disabled, the group was able to more easily get past the border wall using explosives designed for just that purpose. While we’ve seen heavy use of this tactic in the Ukraine-Russia war, it’s been used in Syria and Iraq since at least 2016. ISIS made extensive use of these drones, even producing its own grenades for them.
Hamas has its own longer-range drones as well, though we’ve only seen limited use of them during this war.
It is clear that Israel’s pledge to flatten Hamas will not be easy to fulfill. And going door to door in Gaza to find Hamas fighters comes with substantial risk.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com