Hamas-Israeli War – Day 3

Israel formally declared war against the Palestinian militant group Hamas on 8 October (although not against Gaza). It was done by the Israeli security cabinet. I have not seen a declaration. The last time they declared war was in 1973. The last time anyone in the world formally declared war was when?

Israel as ordered a complete siege of the Gaza Strip. The defense minister said: “There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.” The Gaza Strip does have a 6.8 mile (11 kilometer) border with Egypt. Speaking of Egypt, there is a report that an Egyptian intelligence official told AP that the Israeli government was warned by Egypt 10 days before the Hamas attack that “something big” was being planned by Hamas. The office of Israeli Prime Minister has called the claim “absolutely false’. 

Israel has regained most of the areas that Hamas penetrated. Gun battles continued through the night of 7/8 October. Israel claimed on 8 October that it took back 29 areas from Hamas (up from 22 that they said Hamas took on 7 October). Israel retook the Sderot police station on 8 October, implying that Hamas had taken it the previous day. They are now trying to secure the border areas. As of 9 October (today) there are still some Hamas fighters in Israel and fighting is going on near the Gaza strip but on the Israeli side (maps below are from Wikipedia).

Israel is saying that up to 1,000 Hamas fighters “infiltrated” into Israel. How in the world did that happen? The Israeli army has 126,000 active personnel, while the Gaza Strip has a border with Israel of 32 miles (51 kilometers). They could not protect that border? In contrast, the U.S. border with Mexico is 1,954 miles long (3,145 kilometers).

The Hamas attack on 7 October looks well planned, greatly assisted by a lack of Israeli defensive forces in the area. Hamas took the border crossings in the east of Gaza (Erez Crossing) and were able to advance into Sderot from there; and they took the border crossing in the south-west corner of Gaza (Kerem Shalon), advancing out of there to attack an Israeli music festival. They breached the walls in other areas of the strip. The fact that these two border crossings were not well defended is mystifying.

From there I gather they overran one or two Israeli army bases and the main police station in Sderot (pop. 30,553 in 2021). They then ranged far and wide across the civilian areas, roaming uncontested for up to ten hours. This is a major league failure by the IDF. The lack of a quick and immediate response is also mystifying.

Israel has reported that 85 soldiers, 37 police officers and 5 ISA (Shin Bet – Israel Security Agency) members have been killed. IDF published the names of the soldiers. Photographic evidence is showing one Israeli Merkava tank destroyed and at least five captured. Clearly the bases were not well defended.

A significant number of Israelis were captured. The Israeli Government Press Office stated on the evening of 8 October that the number of hostages in Gaza is over 100. The Israeli ambassador to the U.S. said on 7 October that dozens of Americans are among the hostages. 

On Monday, 9 October, the Israeli government confirmed that more than 900 Israeli civilians had been killed and another 2,150 wounded. Reports are that several Americans (4?) have been killed. The rescue service Zaka said it removed around 260 bodies from the Supernova music festival in the desert near Gaza. Israeli officials say more than 250 people have been killed there.

The U.S. said today (9 October) that nine Americans have been killed in Israel and others are missing. UK is reporting that more than 10 British citizens are killed or missing. Nepal has reported that ten of their citizens have been killed. The French are reporting one woman killed and several others are missing. Cambodia (1) and Ukraine (2) have confirmed that some of their citizens have been killed. Thailand is now reporting that 12 of its citizens have been killed and 11 captured. Others that may have been killed include 4 Argentines, 1 Chilean, 1 German (captured a music festival), 2 Paraguayans and one Canadian killed and two others missing. Thailand says 11 of its citizens have been abducted while Mexico says 2 have been abducted. One Chinese citizen appears to have been abducted from the Supernova festival. Brazil is reporting three missing from that music festival. One Irish woman is missing as are two Tanzania students. 

Israel did strike back, with some 400 targets struck in Gaza during the night of 7/8 October and it is said that more than 800 targets have been hit in Gaza by the evening of 8 October. Gaza Strip has an area of 141 sq. miles (365 sq. kilometers) and a population of 2,375,259. Population density is 16,853 per sq. mile (6,507 per sq. kilometer). This is more than the population density of Washington DC (11,281 per sq. mile) and the size of Gaza Strip is twice the size of Washington DC (68.35 sq miles). Going to be pretty hard to strike 800 targets and not injure at least 800 civilians. The Palestinian Health Ministry was reporting for 7 October) that 232 people in Gaza Strip had been killed and at least 1,700 had been wounded. Have no idea how accurate their reporting is. The Hamas-run health ministry is saying as of 8 October that 413 Palestinians have been killed and 2,300 have been wounded. I assume that is cumulative. It is reported that 7 Palestinians were also killed in the West Bank. On 9 October, the enclave’s Health Ministry has said that 687 people have been killed and 3,700 other wounded from Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes. There has also been 17 people reported killed in the West Bank and 6 in Lebanon. Again, I have no idea how accurate these figures are.

Don’t know how many missiles hit Israel, but some done. Israel said more than 3,500 were fired by Hamas on 7 October. Their latest reports appear to be saying over 2,200 missiles were fired. Don’t know what percent of those were intercepted by the Iron Dome system. Rockets were still being fired on 8 October.

Israeli artillery did fire into southern Lebanon with artillery on 8 October, probably in response to something. Hezbollah responded with some rocket attacks. So far the fighting has been limited to firing in the area of the Shebaa farms. Several people were reported as wounded. The danger is that Hezbollah could join the war. 

The U.S. carrier Gerald R. Ford is moving to the Eastern Mediterranean.

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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6 Comments

  1. C.A.L: “Israel is saying that up to 1,000 Hamas fighters “infiltrated” into Israel. How in the world did that happen? The Israeli army has 126,000 active personnel, while the Gaza Strip has a border with Israel of 32 miles (51 kilometers). They could not protect that border? In contrast, the U.S. border with Mexico is 1,954 miles long (3,145 kilometers)…”

    1) Strategic or operational level surprise. I think TND discussed it once or twice 😉

    Yom Kippur, perhaps? Worked to some extent in 1973.

    2) The IDF also has to cover the West Bank/Judea-Samaria, the Golan Heights with Syria, the border with Lebanon, and the Mediterranean (some of the attackers tried to come in by sea, but were caught).

    C.A.L: “From there I gather they overran one or two Israeli army bases and the main police station in Sderot (pop. 30,553 in 2021). They then ranged far and wide across the civilian areas, roaming uncontested for up to ten hours. This is a major league failure by the IDF. The lack of a quick and immediate response is also mystifying…”

    -Operational and strategic level surprise.

    C.A.L: “Photographic evidence is showing one Israeli Merkava tank destroyed and at least five captured. Clearly the bases were not well defended…”

    -Tactical level surprise.

    From the news:

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/hamas-fighters-bodies-israel-toll-gaza-ground-invasion-rcna119640

    -1,500 dead attackers? If true, then how many attackers were there total? If there were 200 or so IDF and security force fatalities, a 7.5:1 kill ratio might be in line. Allowing for superior and heavier Israeli equipment, and superior numbers (probably) on the Israelis’ side, balanced by Hamas’ surprise advantage, that would be a CEV of about 2.7, which might be possible. That also doesn’t take into account that the attackers may have had a disproportionate number of fatalities (vs. wounded). It also doesn’t take prisoners into account.

  2. The apparent lack of security on the part of Israel is truly baffling, considering Netanyahu’s militant reputation. Just heard on MSNBC that polls by the Jerusalem Post indicate increasing numbers of Israeli’s are blaming his administration for this. Some of his ministers tried to visit hospitals and damaged areas this week but were angrily boo’d away.

  3. Casualty Update:

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/authorities-name-44-soldiers-30-police-officers-killed-in-hamas-attack/

    “The Israel Defense Forces has published the names of 299 soldiers and officers killed during the ongoing war with Palestinian terrorists since October 7, mostly on the border with the Gaza Strip…

    The names and ranks of 54 Israel Police officers who died in combat were also released…”

    I wonder how many of the civilians who got killed were armed. The Nir Am kibbutz seems to have been the most successful group:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nir_Am

    “…During 2023 Hamas attack, Nir Am was one of few villages near Gaza that avoided infiltration and casualties due to the quick action of its security coordinator Inbal Rabin-Lieberman…”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inbal_Rabin-Lieberman

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/ex-soldier-fought-off-hamas-and-saved-kibbutz-neighbours/ar-AA1i6NhH?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=d77a096e5a8e4c52b6aed91b27515b90&ei=55

    …and they certainly contributed Hamas losses.

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