Former CIA director David Petraeus has warned that a ground offensive in Gaza “could be Mogadishu on steroids very quickly.”
Speaking to POLITICO’s Power Play podcast the former US general said if the Hamas fighters are as creative in defence as they were when they staged the attack on Israel bases on 7 October “then you’ll see suicide bombers, you’ll see improvised explosive devices, there will be ambushes, booby traps, and the urban setting, again, could not be more challenging,”
Petraeus warned a ground offensive in the enclave would last years and involve horrific fighting.
He recalled the1993 incident in which three American Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in the Somali capital, prompting bloody urban fighting as American forces struggled to rescue crash survivors, Petraeus said the IDF faced a similar reality inside hostile territory if it engaged on the ground.
“It’s hard for me to imagine a more difficult setting than this particular one, and I was one who commanded forces in a number of major urban operations,” Petraeus said. “You don’t win counterinsurgencies in a year or two. They typically take a decade or more, as we saw in Iraq, as we saw in Afghanistan.”
The former military chief said Israel needs a plan to restore basic services, rebuild Gaza and buttress governance in the region once it considers the battle against Hamas won.