5:49 PM ET, November 8, 2023
Video clips published by Hamas showed confrontations with the Israeli army in Gaza City
From CNN’s Paul B. Murphy
Although IDF forces have surrounded Gaza City and spent more than a month targeting Hamas sites and tunnels, video attacks recently released by Hamas and analyzed by CNN help illustrate how difficult it is to stop the Islamist militants.
CNN has identified the geographical location of a number of clashes seen in Hamas videos in three main locations: Al-Shati refugee camp, Al-Atatra, and Beit Hanoun. The videos were published after the start of the Israeli ground invasion.
The remaining battles that CNN was unable to geolocate were either on incredibly busy city streets or in very rural areas – especially olive groves.
The overall success of the Hamas attacks filmed — whether the bulk of its fighters survive and whether they cause casualties among IDF personnel or disable equipment — is unclear from the videos, which were heavily edited and retouched. Hamas only promotes its successful missions in its videos.
However, Hamas’ release of body camera footage of its fighters carrying out an ambush suggests that at least one of its fighters survived and returned the footage.
CNN military analyst and retired US Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling reviewed the videos and said Hamas was likely using rocket-propelled grenades, which have the potential to be particularly devastating to some military vehicles, such as armored personnel carriers.
An Israeli army spokesman declined to comment on the number of military vehicles that were disabled or destroyed during the ground invasion, citing “operational security considerations.”
Clearing Hamas’s tunnels, including their stockpiles of weapons and fighters, will likely take months. In addition, Hamas fighters can now also use the aftermath of Israeli military strikes – the rubble of buildings – as cover to carry out their ambushes.
Hertling said trying to stop these ambushes would be like “whack-a-mole” unless the IDF can destroy every tunnel complex, opening or tunnel shaft.
“It will take months to do this,” he said, noting that disinfection operations cannot be carried out with vehicles.
IDF soldiers will have to clear each building individually, which will expose them to rifle and sniper fire from Hamas, thus risking a high casualty rate.
Hamas says the videos were taken on November 2, 3, 5 and 6. CNN analysis could not independently confirm this time period, but the length and direction of the shadows in the videos also indicate that many of the ambushes either occurred on different days. Or it happened several hours later.
In most locations, Hamas fighters are shown carrying out multiple ambushes, at different times throughout the day.
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