As we watch the war in Gaza develop, we must not lose sight of the stark challenges the Israeli military is facing. Modern urban combat is always bloody and grueling, and the devastation it wreaks is gut-wrenching to watch. But in Hamas, Israel is facing a particularly formidable foe.
Throughout my time in the military, while serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, I developed a healthy respect for the innovative resourcefulness of motivated terrorists — and the difficulty of defeating them. In January 2019, I visited Israel as the commanding general of the U.S. Central Command (Centcom). Although Israel was not officially within my geographic area of responsibility at that time, many of Israel’s security concerns were, and I was there to provide an update on our progress against the Islamic State. During the visit, officials took me to a recently discovered Hezbollah tunnel just inside the Israeli border. I was lowered into the tunnel and spent approximately 10 minutes exploring it. It was an impressive engineering feat; I could easily move around. The ceilings and walls were fortified with thick lumber, giving a strong sense of safety and permanence.
Photo by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters
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