Israel admits it may not be able to destroy Hamas after US turned its back

Hamas is focused on surviving until the summer, they warned, when the US election campaign begins and support for Israel is likely to wane further.

“The pressure is mounting on Israel to reach some sort of a deal, which means Hamas could survive. Both Hamas and the Iranians are playing on that,” the source said.

Hamas forces scattered

The latest assessment comes as the IDF have been engaging with resurgent Hamas units in parts of Gaza they had previously cleared. Fighting has been raging since March 18 at Al-Shifa hospital, which Israel first raided in December

Months of urban warfare has pushed Hamas out of major strongholds, and Israeli intelligence say over 11,000 terrorists have been killed in addition to 15 top commanders.

Hamas’s forces, which were once believed to be more than 35,000-strong, are now scattered. Eighteen battalions are thought to have been “significantly damaged”.

“Hamas no longer operates as an army. Its units have been eradicated and they don’t have a central command and control,” an IDF source in the southern command said.

“Each unit is acting independently, doing what they think they should do, but there is no control centre that can move units around,” they added.

“They are in a very bad position, but saying that, they turned into the old style of guerrilla warfare. They’re operating as guerrilla terrorists, and when you operate like this, you don’t need the infrastructure and installations, you go from house to house, hide, use the RPGs [rocket propelled grenades], the grenades, and disappear.

“They’ve lost their commanders so they’re really acting independently. A lot of them are surrendering. A lot have lost the motivation and the urge to fight and you can see this as the numbers of Israeli casualties have reduced significantly. Hamas are not fighting.”

Senior leadership in Rafah

What remains of the senior leadership team is now in Rafah, the only remaining urban centre that the IDF’s ground teams have not reached. Marwan Issa, Hamas’ number three in command, was confirmed dead by Israel on Tuesday.

Communications between Yahya Sinwar, the group’s leader, and remaining pockets of resistance have relied on hand delivered notes since the first weeks of the invasion.

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