Israel Is Targeting Hamas With Battlefield Intelligence

Because the terrorist assaults on Oct. 7, Israel has recovered a trove of intelligence that its navy has used to evaluate the extent of Hamas’s plans, in addition to its battle techniques and talents, info that Israeli officers say has helped form the war in Gaza.

On the websites of assaults in Israel and battles in Gaza, the navy has discovered objects that element the placement of Hamas installations and tunnels, together with how the armed group operates underground, in line with paperwork and different info made obtainable by the Israeli navy for The New York Occasions to overview. It additionally retrieved a laptop computer that appeared to point out that Hamas wished to grab quite a lot of beforehand unknown areas on Oct. 7, together with a navy base south of Tel Aviv.

“This warfare, we’re witnessing one thing we haven’t seen in earlier wars: floor forces, together with the armored corps, benefiting from the real-time, exact intelligence info instantly transmitted to them,” stated Brig. Gen. Hisham Ibrahim, the commander of the armored corps. “Data from intelligence items is swiftly transmitted to fight forces.”

The Israeli Military launched a devastating counterattack after Hamas-led assailants killed about 1,200 individuals and took roughly 240 hostages, in line with the Israeli authorities. In an effort to get rid of Hamas, the navy has bombarded and invaded the enclave, in a warfare that has killed greater than 15,000 Gazans, in line with the well being authorities in Gaza.

At a briefing on Monday for journalists at a navy base north of Tel Aviv, the Israeli navy shared a number of the supplies collected over the course of the warfare from useless fighters and areas contained in the Gaza Strip, which it says collectively contains maps, pamphlets, transmitters, telephones, video cameras, walkie-talkies, notebooks and computer systems. The knowledge is being analyzed by a brand new Israeli unit liable for ensuring the findings shortly get to the troopers battling Hamas, officers stated.

The navy supplied entry to key intelligence paperwork on the settlement that reporters wouldn’t disclose granular particulars whereas making a number of the info obtainable for publication. The journalists had to make use of surgical gloves to deal with supplies, a few of which have been stained with dried blood.

Supplies reviewed by The Occasions have been in line with different identified paperwork and kit discovered within the aftermath of the Oct. 7 assaults, info made public by the Israeli navy and located in Hamas movies. The Occasions has additionally reviewed pictures of useless Hamas members and their private belongings with a number of the identical objects shared by the navy on the briefing.

A number of the paperwork described in depth details about Hamas techniques and navy formations. One doc considered by The Occasions included the breakdown of a platoon, together with the ages of the fighters in it; greater than half have been older than 25, indicating that this specific platoon was crammed with seasoned members.

The navy has additionally collected pictures and movies of Hamas navy leaders, info that may very well be used for concentrating on functions. On Tuesday, the Israeli navy released a picture of what it stated have been senior Hamas navy leaders in northern Gaza having fun with meals inside a tunnel, claiming that 5 of the lads had been killed. The navy stated an Israeli intelligence unit had analyzed the image after it was seized in Gaza in a tunnel close to the Indonesian Hospital.

The navy wing of Hamas, Al Qassam Brigades, had beforehand confirmed that no less than three of males within the image had been killed.

As well as, the Israeli navy stated it had retrieved journals that Hamas assailants had been carrying, together with different private objects.

Counting on such info, Common Ibrahim stated he had made “small changes to the combating technique” for the reason that warfare began.

From a makeshift navy camp in southern Israel, Common Ibrahim, the commander of the armored corps, oversees points of tank warfare, which is going down in a densely populated space. The 46-year-old normal is without doubt one of the highest-ranking officers from Israel’s Druse group, an Arabic-speaking spiritual minority.

Because the cease-fire ended final week, Israeli troopers have been engaged in heavy combating in southern Gaza close to the city of Khan Younis, in addition to the northern residential neighborhoods of Jabaliya and Shuja’iyya. Israeli tanks have performed a key function within the battles. Greater than a dozen Israeli troopers have been killed for the reason that combating has resumed.

He’s intensely centered on defending troopers and tanks, and outwitting Hamas. Common Ibrahim stated he has six small groups on the bottom in Gaza to achieve insights from completely different items, the kind of supplies shared with The Occasions. He stated “studying bulletins” are despatched out to forces each few days.

He says he has additionally gleaned classes from Russia’s war in Ukraine, notably how Russian tanks in Ukraine at instances became easy targets. To adapt to the specter of Hamas drones, he stated that Israel rushed to make it possible for tanks have been outfitted with canopies over turrets.

Referred to as “pergolas,” Common Ibrahim stated they’d already proved to be efficient deterrents, explaining that Hamas drones seem to keep away from tanks with the canopies since they supply safety in opposition to warheads. The final described the pergola as a low-tech measure used to defend in opposition to drones, whereas including that the navy has high-tech benefits, together with a protection system referred to as “Trophy.”

The supplies spotlight different challenges for Common Ibrahim and his crew. Hamas booklets, considered by The Occasions, present the weak spots of Israel’s Merkava tanks working contained in the Gaza Strip, with their big 120-millimeter cannons, in addition to Israeli armored personnel carriers. Hamas fighters even have directions on which kind of warhead to make use of in opposition to Israel armor. He stated the Hamas fighters have largely relied on rocket-propelled grenade launchers in assaults on armor.

Hamas fighters, the final stated, will regroup after struggling unhealthy losses and return to struggle in destroyed areas — seemingly misplaced floor. The navy has tailored to keep away from Hamas improvised explosive gadgets. Comparable gadgets have been used to lethal impact in Iraq by militias against U.S. forces.

Whether or not it’s recovering hostages or concentrating on senior Hamas leaders in the vast tunnel network below Gaza, appearing shortly on new intelligence recovered from the battlefield is crucial for a profitable mission, present and former American navy and intelligence officers stated.

“Going after hostages or management targets are very intelligence-driven occasions,” stated Mick Mulroy, a retired C.I.A. officer and a former high Center East coverage official on the Pentagon. Ideally, Mr. Mulroy stated, extremely educated particular operations items are embedded with standard forces conducting floor operations or on alert close by to reply shortly to such time-sensitive info.

As Israeli floor forces clear areas of southern Gaza, Mr. Mulroy stated troopers would most certainly use encrypted messaging apps to alert each other to new techniques, methods or procedures Hamas is utilizing.

“Classes discovered may be disseminated in a short time,” he stated.

Common Ibrahim has stated that the Israeli navy has relied closely on what is called mixed arms combating: using tanks, infantry and fight engineering below the quilt of heavy airstrikes.

“It’s a pressure multiplier, and has been very efficient in Gaza,” he stated.

Whereas Israeli technique has helped preserve the military’s casualties down, hundreds of civilians in Gaza have been killed. The rising dying toll has intensified worldwide strain to barter one other cease-fire.

The American authorities has additionally requested the Israelis to fight more surgically as they drive deeper in southern Gaza in locations like Khan Younis. Whereas the Israeli navy believes that’s the place elements of Hamas management are regarded as hiding, it’s also filled with civilians, lots of them displaced several times already with few locations to go and confusion about what’s secure.

Requested about staggering numbers of civilian deaths, Common Ibrahim defended the Israeli navy. He stated that Israel had tried to clear the battlefield of civilians, giving them time to go away, dropping fliers, broadcasting on audio system and calling their cellphones to go away the world.

“It’s virtually inconceivable to don’t have any civilian casualties in a navy operation like this,” Mr. Mulroy stated. “Their goal is to degrade Hamas’s navy functionality to the purpose the place it doesn’t pose an instantaneous risk to Israel. ”

The USA has designated Hamas a terrorist group, and American officers have inspired the Israelis to mannequin their floor marketing campaign on an strategy employed by Stanley A. McChrystal when he commanded U.S. Particular Operations forces in a targeted-killing marketing campaign in opposition to Al Qaeda in Iraq.

That marketing campaign, which killed the group’s leader in 2006, demonstrated to U.S. navy theorists that using small groups of commandos, mixed with precision strikes from drones and manned plane and appearing shortly on new details about the enemy seized on the battlefield, may be efficient at flushing out and concentrating on key leaders, and weakening their organizations.

Common Ibrahim stated that the combating — each above and beneath floor — could be powerful in southern Gaza however that “we’ll nonetheless win.” He added, “We’re combating Hamas, not the individuals of Gaza.”

Israeli safety officers are persevering with to attempt to piece collectively the place Hamas obtained a few of its gear and delicate particulars about Israeli areas. Among the many objects present in Israel after the assaults and displayed have been Motorola radios utilized in Hamas automobiles to take care of contact with commanders in Gaza. The radios have been just like those utilized in Israeli taxis.

There have been additionally detailed maps of no less than one kibbutz with seemingly each constructing marked.

And on the pc taken from a Hamas commander’s truck was additionally a schematic of the navy base south of Tel Aviv, displaying lots of the buildings. It isn’t clear how a lot of the detailed map of the bottom was obtainable publicly.

Gal Koplewitz contributed reporting from Jerusalem, and Eric Schmitt from Washington.

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