Israel Announces ‘Shift’ In Hamas War

In interviews this week, Israeli officials indicated that the IDF’s military campaign against Hamas is likely to see a shift in focus. This change in strategy will go from large-scale, intense battles to smaller, more focused missions in the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s war against Hamas started on October 7, 2023, when Hamas launched a surprise attack from Gaza, killing 1,200 Israelis and taking hundreds of hostages. The Israeli Defense Force quickly mobilized and retaliated, killing thousands of Hamas fighters and pushing into Gaza.

In the months since, Israel has fought a grueling war against Hamas, slowly conquering territory from the terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip. The difficulty of this offensive has been exacerbated by Hamas’ use of civilian human shields, leading to scores of civilian deaths even as Israel eliminates Hamas soldiers and leaders. In all, almost 23,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war’s beginning, but that number includes both soldiers and civilians.

However, Israel’s IDF Spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in an interview that Israel is shifting its focus in the current war. Talking with the New York Times, Hagari said that the IDF is continuing its war against Hamas, but shifting tactics as it moves farther south in the Gaza Strip and that the IDF will be focusing more on “different types of special operations.”

In the northern part of the Gaza Strip, Hamas has mostly been eliminated, although there is still sporadic fighting with scattered, leaderless militants. Now that the withering ground offensive is scaling down in the north, Israel is withdrawing troops back across the border, signaling a change in their offensive plans.

However, the middle and southern parts of the Gaza Strip still pose more difficulty for the IDF, as many civilians have fled there to escape the fighting. This is why the IDF is trying to transition to more targeted strikes and missions in an effort to reduce civilian casualties. Like many other Israeli leaders, Hagari has stated that Israel’s war against Hamas will continue into 2024.

Further heightening tensions in this war, Israel has also seen heightening tensions with Hezbollah, operating out of Lebanon. Israel and Hezbollah have both sent drones across the border in recent days, striking at military installations. In Israel’s case, these strikes have killed several key terrorist leaders in recent days.