Hamas' last stand in Shijaiyah proves costly for IDF

With Israel on the cusp of claiming full control of northern Gaza, terrorists are holding on to Shijaiyah with everything they have, in the embattled neighborhood, littered with booby traps and explosive charges, several of which have exacted a very heavy toll from Israeli forces

Ron Ben-Yishay|
With the Gaza neighborhood of Shijaiyah possibly being the final stronghold of Hamas’ northern quadrant, it is no surprise they took every step at their disposal to maintain some semblance of control as IDF platoons were swarming with troops, tanks, APCs and artillery.
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They booby-trapped the buildings they were holed up in, hoping to lure as many IDF soldiers to their deaths, which they did. No less than 9 officers both from Golani and Unit 669 were killed, trying to make their way into a position from which they could have directly engaged the terrorists.
With the area being so densely built, sprawling with a tight array of buildings and uncomfortably narrow alleyways, it’s virtually impossible to insert a bulldozer into these suffocating bits of space, which would have served the IDF well in clear lines of sight, allowing for more headway and an increased measure of planning and care that would potentially have prevented Israel’s senselessly losing 9 of its finest warriors.
The option of raining down hell upon the terrorists would have served little purpose, as Hamas is well versed with this particular kind of threat, scurrying underground before bombs even drop and surfacing back up when the threat has passed.
Within the bowels of Shijaiyah, one would be well advised not to go into a building from the front entrance, while also “softening” resistance inside the structure by letting a tank blow up said entrance, potentially killing any terrorists waiting to ambush the soldiers as soon as they come in. But yes, inserting a tank into a position to shoot the building in the first place is a tricky proposition, and insistence on doing so could severely slow things down, giving terrorists more time to set up more traps.
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9 הלוחמים שנהרגו
9 הלוחמים שנהרגו
The 9 brave troops who fell in Shijaiyah
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Lest we forget, The Biden administration is slowly but surely losing patience with Israel’s ground offensive, and the rest of the world didn’t have that much patience to begin with. Whether spelled out or not, commanders on the ground are feeling the pressure. It permeates from the Oval Office all the way to the smallest Gaza crevice.
None of that suggests Hamas has it easy. They’re neither as numerous nor as skilled as the IDF, so suicide bombings, booby traps and AK-47s are all they have left to offer, and they’ll take that fight to their graves, trying to drag as many IDF troops as they can right alongside them.
A similarly tragic incident just two days prior occurred in Khan Younis, where 5 IDF officers and reservists fell in combat due to an explosive charge in a school. These sort of traps are laid out in their thousands throughout the enclave, and IDF’s upper echelon have yet to come up with a more advantageous path of securing entrance into these structures than safely triggering the traps and subsequently walking into rubble.
Soon, this stage of raiding the strip en masse will come to a close, and it will be followed by inserting troops into underground tunnels, one of which is inhabited by Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar. No tanks, no artillery, no softening resistance. If you think fighting above ground can feel cramped and constricting, it is but a prelude to things to come. Thus, the military’s finest minds should think of a better way of neutralizing the explosive threat, or helplessly stand by as the number of fallen IDF troops will persist in its unfortunate rise.
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