Based on recent satellite images from northwest Gaza, it appears that the Israeli Army has sustained substantial losses, with 88 armored vehicles reportedly missing over five days. This accounts for approximately 23 percent of the 383 vehicles that could be seen in the area via satellite imagery.
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Israeli forces have made notable progress, successfully dividing Gaza into two parts – north and south. However, through multiple video evidence, it’s clear that Hamas, along with other Palestinian militant groups, have managed to effectively incapacitate Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers on several occasions.
Militias have employed a range of sophisticated techniques, among them are the use of explosives strategically placed on vehicles with the aim of neutralizing tanks’ active protection systems. This is typically followed by a storm of rocket-propelled grenades. Since the beginning of October, there have been verified reports of successful drone strikes on Israeli armored units operating outside the Gaza Strip.
The impact of the losses in Gaza is further underscored by the additional damage incurred by the Israeli armor on the Lebanon border in the North. As part of the ongoing tensions, Hezbollah’s anti-tank units have been particularly focusing on these vehicles. They are using anti-tank weapons that are far more sophisticated than those available to Palestinian militias.
Reports from regional media channels have revealed a concurrent rise in the attrition rates of Israeli armored vehicles. This correlates with the unfortunate news of the death of a tank brigade commander, Colonel Sheldag Zior. His loss signifies the most senior casualty within the Israeli force to date.
The rise in attrition rates correlates directly with the more frequent sightings of older tanks such as the Merkava IIIs, during the conflict in Gaza. Especially notable was the second week of October, when the number of Israeli armored losses surged.
Merkava tanks to Hamas hands
This was attributable to Hamas making significant progress, successfully seizing numerous military facilities and arms storage outside of Gaza. As a result, a considerable amount of new Merkava tanks and countless other armored vehicles fell into their hands.
Reports have been surfacing about substantial numbers of these vehicles undergoing destruction. As early as 2005, Israel embarked on the process to gradually retire the Merkava III from their primary service. The aim is to substitute the majority of the remaining Merkava III units with the upgraded Merkava V, commencing towards the end of 2023. Given the significant number of Merkava IIIs in use, analysts predict a possible shortage of the newer models.
However, obtaining accurate assessments of the casualties on both sides has become challenging due to the continued instability in the area.
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