Israeli ground offensive in Gaza could be a ‘bloodbath,’ analysts say

Israeli soldiers preparing for a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip will face a hellish thicket of tightly packed buildings, mines and tunnels while hunting Hamas militants who blend in among civilians, a precarious situation that could cause immense human suffering and draw other countries into the war, said U.S. officials and analysts familiar with the conflict.

The operation is expected to be the Israel Defense Forces’ most significant in years, pitting them against Hamas, the Gaza-based militant group that carried out an unprecedented massacre in Israel beginning Oct. 7 in which more than 1,300 people were killed and up to 150 were kidnapped. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that “every Hamas fighter” will be “destroyed,” while the Israeli government has urged civilians in Gaza to evacuate Gaza City.

Officials across the region are bracing for a broad assault on a heavily populated area that could last for weeks, kill thousands of people and destroy entire neighborhoods. On Sunday, Palestinian officials said more than 2,600 people had been killed in Gaza since the fighting began.

Originally Published in Washington Post.