Sean Rayment

The next stage of Israel’s war will be even deadlier

(Photo: Getty)

On Friday a four-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas began, as the first hostages taken by Hamas were released by the terrorist group. Under the deal struck, 50 Israeli women and children will be released in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners, who will be freed over the four-day period. Additionally, the Israeli government said the lull in hostilities will be extended for an additional day for every ten more hostages Hamas releases.

In theory, the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas could last until all 240 hostages are released. And some may hope that the complex ceasefire arrangements might lead to an extended truce. But in reality, it is likely that the war will begin again soon, with the Israeli government vowing to not stop fighting until Hamas is destroyed and its terrorist network is obliterated.

When the fighting begins again, the Israeli army will turn south and head into what Hamas regards as its stronghold. And the war will change significantly.

Israel knows that a lull in fighting or ceasefire – they amount to the same thing – plays into Hamas’s hands. Up until now the attacks against Hamas had been unrelenting and unlike anything the terrorist group had experienced in the past. But every day that passes without fighting taking place will allow Hamas the time to regroup, rearm and remerge from the tunnels knowing that they are safe from attack.

As far as Israel is concerned the temporary pause in fighting is simply delaying the inevitable. Eylon Levy, a spokesman for the Israeli government, told the BBC:

‘This war has to end with the end of Hamas. We are going to totally destroy Hamas’s terrorist and governing infrastructure inside the Gaza strip and we are coming after every Hamas rocket launcher, every tunnel and every Hamas terrorist.

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Written by
Sean Rayment
Sean Rayment served as a Captain in the Parachute Regiment in the late 1980s. As a defence correspondent, he has reported on wars in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf and Africa

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