Qassam fighters confront forces in Gaza and destroy a number of vehicles (from the Qassam page on Telegram)

From the first moment the last truce between Hamas and the Israeli occupation state ended, Israeli warplanes began to strike different areas of the Gaza Strip, causing a number of martyrs and wounded, while the ground forces are preparing to advance inside the north of the Gaza Strip, which they have been trying to encircle since the beginning of the ground invasion, and perhaps penetrate south to more crowded areas, which will take the war to a new level.

This prompts us to shed light once again on Israel's war strategy, especially on land, and how the resistance plans to confront it. The most prominent rule here is that there is a big difference between penetrating an area of land and preserving or occupying it, as entering the city during the war is (relatively) easy, but staying in it is very complicated, hence the details of urban warfare serve the Qassam not the occupation, as military theorists know that defense is the strongest tactical position in urban warfare, because it requires a much larger force to attack and defeat forces located within urban terrain, because many physical structures provide locations Instant defense with excellent military quality.

Qassam strengths

There are five types of defensive battle sites known to Qassam soldiers as well as every army in the world, the first is the primary site, which is located on the road likely to be crossed by the enemy coming from afar, and the alternative site is a defensive site designated by the commander to move the soldiers to when the main position becomes indefensible.

The third type are supplementary positions, which are positions within the area of operations that provide the best firing positions and defensive terrain along a road other than the main road through which the enemy is expected to attack, and the fourth type is the subsequent positions to which the unit expects to move later during the course of battle.

Finally, the fifth type appears, which is the locations of "strengths". In military tactics, a "point of strength" is defined as a point in a defensive combat position that can take various forms, but the prerequisite is that it should not be easily bypassed or avoided. Ideally, therefore, the defensive terrain of the strength point is usually more good, and is surrounded by obstacles that prevent the advance of the attacking forces. In cities, as you can see, this is very much present.

Urban terrain favors the commanders of the Qassam Brigades, as they can find distinct areas for the above five sites, and if the Qassam forces lose a strong defensive point, they can quickly find the next strengths, so the war is like moving from house to house.

Strengths play a crucial role in maintaining defensive positions, and they are difficult to overcome, and they at least prolong the battle and expect significant losses among the attackers (occupation), in addition to the fact that many buildings are built by reinforced concrete, making them impervious to many weapons and military penetration tactics.

Stealth capability

All this and we have not yet talked about the supply lines for the defenders that are almost zero in length, where the Qassam can store resources inside closed rooms close to the fighting sites, in addition to that the urban terrain reduces the capabilities of the attackers in the fields of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as drones, for example, cannot penetrate the walls to show the tools and movements of the resistance in certain areas and guide the occupation forces to them.

In the end, the defender can see the next attacker and engage him, because the attacker has limited cover, in contrast, and despite all the techniques of the most advanced armies in the world, in attacking the city crossing the street can pose one of the greatest risks to the lives of the attacking soldiers. This is what is happening in northern Gaza, where Israeli soldiers cross the street with armored vehicles or tanks, or perhaps by going from house to house by blowing up walls and making holes in them. But the streets are not all as wide, and the soldier eventually has to get off his armored vehicle to pass a square.

Although pre-strikes can benefit the attacking army by reducing the strength of defenders before entering the city, the urban terrain destroyed by these strikes creates a greater obstacle to the movement of the attacking ground forces, as they do not pass easily even with the presence of the most powerful bulldozers, in addition to providing irregular points where Qassam can hide and hunt down occupation soldiers.

All this is supported by an important weapon that rids the resistance soldiers from the constraints of geography, which is the Gaza tunnels, which alone are one of the most powerful tools in this war, and it is a complex tunnel network with a number of entry and exit openings, which first represents an important tool for breaching the pincers manufactured by the occupation state around northern Gaza, thus providing Qassam soldiers with equipment remains possible even with the siege. Of course, the tunnels provide the advantage of safe transportation for resistance soldiers, and most of all, through them they can surprise the enemy and strike him a fatal blow that does not allow him to survive, escape or confront.

Advantages of snipers

In parallel, the Qassam Brigades are reaping the benefits of their investments in light weapons and sniper rifles in particular, as they know that the final conflict will be within the city, and no matter how advanced technology is, a single sniper can equal a full force if he uses his equipment appropriately and chooses multiple and powerful positioning areas.

In 2014, the Qassam Brigades announced that it had manufactured a sniper rifle that confirmed that it had a lethal range of up to two kilometers, called it "Ghoul", and in a video published by the battalions, sniper operations appeared against soldiers from the Israeli army with this "Ghoul" rifle, and in 2018, Hamas released pictures of Israeli soldiers in the range of its snipers, the bullets were never fired at the time, but the picture was intended to clarify that the occupation soldiers are always in the range of Hamas snipers.

During Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, an IDF spokesperson told AFP that Hamas snipers fired on observation points along the breached security fence, day after day the resistance soldiers are developing their capabilities in this area, simply because it is a striking force in urban warfare.

One of the most famous examples in this range is the 1942 Battle of Stalingrad, where snipers proved particularly influential, killing hundreds of attacking German troops, Soviet snipers mastered the use of urban terrain and developed new tactics such as using old barrels as hiding and striking locations from unpredictable areas.

Familiarity with the terrain

Add to that another important point, which is that the resistance has a superior knowledge of the area, unlike the occupation soldiers, this knowledge includes everything, from the smallest gates to the places of jumping from building to building, and consequently, this knowledge provides them with a very important property, which is the possibility of surprising the enemy, and we notice this clearly in the Qassam videos, where the resistance soldier appears from almost nowhere to hit the armored vehicle or tank from the side, and even at a distance smaller than the range of the bomber, which is It is very influential in the effectiveness of the projectile.

The resistance soldiers even managed to reach the tank or armored vehicle directly and place an explosive device on it, simply because everywhere in the city is a potential source of danger for the occupation soldiers, and this alone can make many of them terrified and suspicious, so things like a simple fall of a piece of rock or the rustle of trees on the side of the road turn into red lights that light up everywhere.

This explains the destruction of a relatively large number of Israeli military vehicles in Gaza by the resistance forces, reaching more than 335 tanks, armored vehicles and bulldozers before the truce, and even satellite images have detected a clear decrease in the presence of military units in northern Gaza as the military operations of the occupation progress.

Qassam ambushes

All this and we have not yet talked about the ambushes prepared in advance, where the resistance soldiers intensify the defense at a specific point to prevent the enemy from passing through it, so he is forced to change his route to another point intended by the resistance to direct him to, because it was mined by explosive devices, or the resistance soldiers took excellent positions in it to hit the passing tanks in their weak points.

One of the most famous examples is the ambushes prepared by the Chechens in advance in the war in 1994 and 1995 when the Russians entered Grozny, where soldiers took up dead positions relative to tank shells and thus neutralized their power, raining fire on Russian soldiers.

Similarly, in more than one place, the Qassam Brigades were able to drag Israeli forces to pre-prepared points and target their vehicles with missiles more easily.

Even with the technical difference, the attacking occupation forces must systematically enter the entire buildings and rooms to eliminate Qassam threats, so the basic tactics of urban warfare (anywhere) include searching each room individually, breaking through doors, and using close-range combat techniques.

In this context, technology becomes completely restricted, and a soldier armored with his weapon must eventually expose himself to face another soldier, and on a street that the Merkava cannot enter and the advanced marches cannot wipe it completely, the Qassamis get a largely equal battle, and they exploit it to strike the enemy militarily and psychologically.

Hamas strategists know that the battle is unequal, and that the enemy is technologically advanced and in the number of soldiers and has stable supply lines, but the resistance soldiers are not fighting a regular battle, but rather an irregular war aimed at inflicting as many losses as possible, and slowing down the progress of the occupation alone is a victory, because it greatly affects the political decision in Tel Aviv, and even the whole world's view of the issue, which is becoming clearer day by day.



  • 1- Global security Military guide, PART THREE Defensive Operations, Chapter 8 Basics of Defensive Operations
  • 2- Unpacking the History of Urban Warfare and its Challenges in Gaza – Lessons learned from historical examples of urban warfare and how success and victory are not so easily achievable By Carlo J.V. Caro – journal of Grand Strategy
  • 3-Defending the City: An Overview of Defensive Tactics from the Modern History of Urban Warfare John – Jayson Geroux. Modern War institute
  • 4- Understanding Urban Warfare – Book by John Spencer and Liam Coll

Source : Al Jazeera