Israel faces perilous, protracted war as IDF expands its operation into Hamas’ urban strongholds

Sunday, July 20, 2014
By Paul Martin

DEBKA.com
July 20, 2014

The IDF tried to mitigate the bad news from Hamas warfront by releasing it in sections over Saturday and Sunday, July 19-20. Four soldiers were killed and a score were wounded. Maj. Amotz Greenberg, 45, from Hod Hashorn and Sgt. Adar Bresani, 20, from Nahariya, were shot dead Saturday when their jeep was attacked by Hamas infiltrators bursting out of a tunnel.

On the Gaza battlefield, Paratrooper Staff Sgt. Bana Roval, 20, from Holon, was shot dead by a terrorist from another tunnel, and 2nd Lt, Bar Rahav, 21, from Ramat Yishai, was killed by a missile defense system in a nearby tank.
Hamas is not only bringing its deadly tunnels into play, but also planting small commando units heavily armed with anti-tank rockets across the paths of advancing Israeli armored forces.
Saturday, those commandos fired 10 anti-tank rockets. Without their Windbreaker armor, many tanks would have been destroyed and the casualty toll much higher.

However, most of all, Hamas is fighting to save its tunnel system from systematic destruction by IDF demolition teams. This system was designed to be the Palestinian Islamists’ highest strategic asset, comparable in importance to the IDF’s chain of fortifications along the Syrian border.
Around 16,000 men, around 15 percent of Hamas’ fighting strength, were assigned to the tunnel project in the last five years and substantial funds. The IDF will not be permitted to demolish this flagship project without a savage fight.

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