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Hamas attack: why did Israel take so long to expel the militants who entered its territory

48 hours after the shock caused by the launch of Operation Al-Aqsa Storm by Hamas militants in Israel, the IDF has just restored order on its territory this Monday morning. Shortly before 11 a.m., Army spokesman Gen. Daniel Hagary announced “full control” of towns attacked in the south during a press briefing.

Earlier in the morning, the General Staff was less optimistic. Of course, most of the 1,000 Hamas fighters who crossed security barriers on Saturday to sow death on the streets of Sderot or Ashkelon were killed or retreated into the enclave, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht noted. However, seven settlements still remain the scene of urban battles, he also clarified.

“We are still fighting, there are seven or eight places in the open country around Gaza where we still have soldiers fighting terrorists,” he said. An admission of failure by this senior Israeli officer. “We thought that just yesterday we would be in complete control of the situation,” he admitted.

According to I24News, of the 24 Israeli communities located near the fence separating them from Gaza, 15 were evacuated by the IDF. According to the news channel, fighting was still ongoing this Monday morning in Sderot, a city of 20,000 people located in the northeast of the Gaza Strip. The city of Ashkelon, population 150,000, north of the Hamas-controlled enclave, was under control, according to BFMTV.

Entrenched fighters

Why such difficulties? “The Israeli army is undoubtedly faced with Hamas fighters hidden in houses and probably taking civilians hostage, hence the difficulty in intervening,” explains General Dominique Trinquint, former head of the French military mission to the UN. The interest for Hamas: making a lasting impression after it had already shocked the world by infiltrating a security system thought to be impenetrable. “The longer the occupation of Israeli populated areas lasts, the more it will show the strength of Hamas and the weakness of the IDF,” the expert sums up.

Despite the return of attacked areas in the south, the presence of Islamist militants in the region near the border with the Gaza Strip remains a concern. It will be necessary to ensure that all the attackers are killed before sealing the gaps in the fence through which Hamas fighters entered, while rumors of further infiltrations sparked panic this Monday morning.

I24News mentioned, for example, the potential infiltration this Monday of Kibbutz Saad, located in the south of the country. The media also mentioned an incident in which a Hamas fighter was shot while trying to infiltrate an IDF base in Zikim. “There may still be terrorists in the area,” General Daniel Hagary admitted.

Source: Le Parisien

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