Israel: IDF acknowledges failure to destroy ‘Hamas metro’

Gaza destruction (Reuters)

Middle East Monitor  /  August 26, 2021

Senior officers have recognized that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) failed to achieve the goals set for the military offensive against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip between 11 and 21 May, The Times of Israel reported on Wednesday.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi have discussed these issues with senior officers in the Southern Command. The discussion included successes and failures during “Operation Guardian of the Walls”.

The ability of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, to fire thousands of rockets towards Israeli cities and critical infrastructure was one of the failures, they acknowledged. The IDF recognizes that the rockets were an area of weakness and said that the army has improved its ability to locate rocket launchers in order to strike them in advance or, at the very least, destroy them more quickly after they have been used.

The offensive in Gaza had two main goals for the IDF: destroying most of the enclave’s weapons production capabilities and demonstrating to the Palestinian resistance groups that the army was capable of striking their underground tunnels and bunkers referred to by Israeli media as the “Hamas metro”.

According to The Times of Israel, the IDF air strikes were based on plans that the military had been drawing up for years. However, the attacks on the tunnels and bunkers did not go according to plan. A ground invasion was meant to drive Hamas fighters into the tunnels and bunkers in order to maximize the blow to the Palestinian movement when they were destroyed.

The IDF attempted to trick Hamas into believing that such a ground attack was underway, but this failed. The Israelis believe that far fewer Hamas fighters were killed in the air strikes than the already low number that they estimated initially.