The New York Times has reported that Israel has decided to delay its ground operation against Hamas in Gaza due to adverse weather conditions. The newspaper claims that the incursion will come at a high cost for the Israeli military, considering the scope of the operation and the fortifications built by the militants.
According to the article, the invasion was initially planned for the weekend but was postponed by a few days due to weather conditions. The poor weather is preventing Israeli pilots and drone operators from providing air cover for the ground forces.
The NYT cites three anonymous Israeli officers who confirm that the imminent operation will involve tens of thousands of service members, including commando units, tanks, warplanes, helicopter gunships, drones, and artillery. The goal of the operation is said to be the complete destruction of Hamas’ leadership, which has controlled Gaza since 2007.
The planned ground operation is expected to be the largest of its kind in over a decade. It is unclear whether the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) plan to take control of only part of Gaza or the entire enclave. There are also uncertainties about what will happen if Hamas is removed from power, including whether Israelis will run Gaza or if a new Palestinian administration will be installed.
The anonymous Israeli officers interviewed by the NYT state that the incursion is likely to take months and result in a significant number of casualties on the Israeli side. This is due to the vast network of Hamas’ underground tunnels that will need to be cleared.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the ongoing Israeli air raids against Hamas, stating that the country has unleashed “unprecedented force.” He emphasized that these actions are only the beginning and that their enemies will continue to face consequences.
The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas has resulted in a significant loss of life. According to the latest estimates, Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7 has led to at least 1,300 deaths and nearly 3,500 injuries. In Gaza, at least 1,900 Palestinians, including 614 children and 370 women, have been killed in the Israeli airstrikes over the past week, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
In response to the potential ground operation in Gaza, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned that Iran would retaliate if Israel proceeds. The situation remains tense and uncertain as the conflict continues to escalate.