The next stage in Gaza

Israel is likely to expand its operations in the Gaza Strip within the next few days, according to the Jerusalem Post. The IDF apparently has dropped leaflets throughout Gaza warning residents of the expanded operations.

The expansion of operations could take either of two forms. The IDF might move deeper into Gaza City or it might push into Southern Gaza. Thereafter, Israel would have to decide whether to attempt fully to reoccupy Gaza and to topple Hamas.

In the meantime, an expansion of operations certainly makes sense. Otherwise, Israeli forces will become static targets. As one officer put it, “the troops cannot just stand and wait; they always need to be on the move.” And, as always, Israel must take into account that a cease fire may be around the corner.

Speaking of static targets, IDF forces reportedly killed killed Amir Mansi, a senior member of Hamas’s military wing and commander of its rocket division in Gaza City. Mansi, who had close ties to Hezbollah, was killed while attempting to fire mortars at IDF forces in Northern Gaza.

The IDF considers it a good sign that a senior operator like Mansi was personally involved in firing mortars. According to one officer, entire Hamas companies have been wiped out, and some Hamas fighters have gone AWOL or fled the fighting, leaving Mansi to “fire rockets on his own.”

This may be reading too much into Mansi’s demise. Nonetheless, it seems clear that the attack on Gaza is going much better than the 2006 war in South Lebanon, and that Hamas isn’t acquitting itself nearly as well as Hezbollah did.

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