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Israel “can only win in urban warfare by protecting civilians” in Gaza


Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he “learned a thing or two about urban warfare” while fighting in Iraq and leading the campaign against the jihadist group Islamic State (ISIS).

Like Hamas, ISIS was deeply embedded in urban areas. And the international coalition against ISIS worked hard to protect civilians and create humanitarian corridors, even during the toughest battles,” Austin said.

The lesson is not that you can win in urban warfare by protecting civilians. The lesson is that you can only win in urban warfare by protecting civilians,” he said.

In this kind of a fight, the center of gravity is the civilian population. And if you drive them into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.

The day before, fighting resumed between Israel and Hamas, a terrorist group, after a week-long truce collapsed. Both sides blamed each other for the collapse of the agreement and renewed violence.

In response to the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, 2023, Israel launched a severe ground and air campaign in Gaza. The deaths during the war against Hamas terrorists motivated armed groups to launch attacks not only against Israel but also against US troops in the region, leaving many US troops injured.

Washington has blamed Iran-backed forces for the attacks on its troops and has carried out repeated retaliatory airstrikes in recent weeks.

We will not tolerate attacks on American personnel. And so these attacks must stop,” Austin said. “Until they do, we will do what we need to do to protect our troops — and to impose costs on those who attack them.

The recent escalation of violence in the Middle East has taken a new turn with the involvement of various regional players. On October 7, Hamas launched a terror attack on Israel, marking a significant intensification in the conflict. This attack, characterized by its suddenness and severity, has not only strained the already tenuous relations between Israel and Palestine but has also drawn regional and international attention.

In the wake of this attack, Hezbollah’s role has come under scrutiny. As a key player in the region, Hezbollah’s involvement is often viewed through the lens of its close ties with Iran. Reports suggest that Hezbollah has provided support to Hamas, although the extent and nature of this support remain a subject of debate among international observers. This development is particularly concerning given Hezbollah’s established military capabilities and its influence in the region.

Iran’s response to the situation has been closely monitored. Traditionally a supporter of Hamas, Iran’s stance in this conflict could have far-reaching implications. While Tehran has condemned Israel’s actions, it has also faced criticism for its role in supporting militant groups in the region.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s recent arms deal with Qatar has raised eyebrows in the context of these developments. The deal, valued at around 3.4 billion pounds, involves the sale of advanced military equipment to Qatar. While the UK government asserts that this deal is part of its broader defense and security cooperation, some analysts are concerned about the timing and implications of such a significant arms transfer in a region already beset by conflict and instability. This deal, therefore, not only has implications for regional security dynamics but also reflects the ongoing international jostling for influence in the Middle East.

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