London: Israel’s armed forces have massed tens of thousands of soldiers, tanks, heavy armour and artillery along the Gaza border ahead of a much-anticipated ground assault which aims to crush Hamas in retaliation for October 7 attacks, media reports said.
Despite its killing of Israeli civilians and its considerable stockpiles of rockets, Hamas remains a political group with a heavily armed militia, Daily Mail reported.
Israel is considered to be one of the most advanced militaries with state of the art equipment and technology.
The IDF currently has 169,500 active military personnel and 465,000 reservists – a large portion has now been called up by the Israeli government. This equates to the world’s third largest active military per-capita, and the world’s sixth largest reserve military, Daily Mail reported.
By contrast, Hamas is thought to have as many as 40,000 fighters, all of whom are crammed into Gaza, a small 140-square-mile strip of land home to more than 2.3 million people – with limited training and resources.
However, the military experts have warned that an armed Israeli incursion into Gaza will not be easy.
Defenders are typically thought to have a 3-1 advantage over attackers, and Israel’s troops would face grueling urban and guerrilla warfare, with Hamas springing traps against the IDF at every chance they get, Daily Mail reported.
Some analysts have drawn comparisons to the Battle of Mosul (2016-2017), in which the western-backed Iraqi government eventually prevailed in liberating the city from its ISIS conquerors – but only at a huge cost of military and civilians, Daily Mail reported.
Israeli military has long been supported by the US with $3.3 billion in congressionally mandated annual funding, plus another $500 million toward missile defence technology that protects its skies from Hamas rockets.
As such, it is one of the best-armed nations in the wider Middle East. Its air force includes the advanced American F-35 fighter jet, missile defence batteries including the American-made Patriot, and the famous Iron Dome system, Daily Mail reported.
Israel has armoured personnel carriers and tanks, and a fleet of drones and other technology available to support any street-to-street battles.
It even has a purpose built fake city, the Urban Warfare Training Center – known colloquially as ‘Mini Gaza’ – to train its troops in the art of close-quarter urban combat.
What’s more, the Jewish state has some 170,000 troops typically on active duty and has called up some 360,000 reservists for the war – three-fourths of its estimated capacity, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Israel spends more than 5 per cent of its GDP on the IDF (the Israeli Ground Forces, the Israeli Air Force, and the Israeli Navy) and has around three million people who are fit for military service, having at some point in their lives undertaken mandatory military service of around three years, Daily Mail reported.