UPDATE – IDF Deaths Highlight Perils of Urban Warfare
Since the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) began ground operations in Gaza on October 27, 175 Israeli troops have been killed. However, terrorists in Gaza have killed IDF soldiers at a roughly 29 percent higher daily rate since December 1, after which the IDF pushed into southern Gaza following the one-week pause in combat operations to allow for hostage releases. This underscores the dangers of urban warfare, highlights the intensity of recent operations, particularly in southern Gaza, suggests that Hamas may have exploited the pause to prepare for more effective combat, and likely reflects increasing IDF reliance on ground forces, relative to air power, risking greater numbers of IDF casualties while protecting civilians. It also demonstrates why, in prior conflicts with Hamas, Israeli leaders have been highly reticent to send in ground forces, preferring to rely predominantly on airpower.