Elite Hamas unit destroyed, Hamas “surprised” by IDF
posted at 1:50 pm on January 16, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
The Admiral Emeritus defines disillusionment as watching your martial-arts instructor getting badly beaten in a bar fight. This has to be close. The mullahs in Tehran have reason to worry about their own security now that the IDF wiped out their Hamas commandos, apparently with no trouble whatsoever:
The so-called “Iranian Unit” of Hamas has been destroyed, according to Gaza sources cited Thursday by the Haaretz daily. The sources said most of the unit’s 100 members were killed in fighting in the Zeytun neighborhood of Gaza City.
The terrorists had been trained in infantry tactics, the use of anti-tank missiles and the detonation of explosives, among other skills, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard at Hizbullah camps in Lebanon’s Beka’a Valley, as well as sites in Iran.
This comes as a severe blow to the prestige of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, as well as Hezbollah. If their best can’t stand up for a week against the IDF, then their own enemies will look at their military as much less of a deterrent against action. Since their nuclear program appears close to fruition, this is the wrong time to send that kind of message about Iranian capabilities.
Ha’aretz also reports that Hamas badly miscalculated the effect of their renewed missile attacks on Israel. After watching the Olmert government in action in 2006 against Hezbollah and the political reaction to it, they assumed Israel would just return fire by air and cause “superficial” damage to their organization. Surprise!
Two captured terrorists interviewed by Maariv/NRG say that Hamas was not expecting Israel’s response to the escalation in missile attacks on Israeli targets that preceded Operation Cast Lead. One of them, a 52-year-old victim of a premature detonation who had already done time in an Israeli jail, said, “Hamas took a gamble. We thought, at worst Israel will come and do something from the air – something superficial. They’ll come in and go out. We never thought that we would reach the point where fear will swallow the heart and the feet will want to flee. You [Israel] are fighting like you fought in ’48. What got into you all of a sudden?”
Really, what got into Israel was the narrowing options for dealing with Hamas. They’ve tried just about everything, including cease-fires and the aforementioned air strikes, with no success. Invasion and absolute confrontation was about all they had left short of complete surrender. If Hamas leadership had paid attention, they might have realized this.
The Israelis are widely expected to bring the offensive to a halt in the next few days, but I’m not certain they will. They’re starting to do tremendous damage to Hamas both in Gaza and worldwide. They have restored the reputation for their military efforts that got damaged in 2006. The IDF and Israeli government should consider completing the rout of Hamas rather than worry about timetables at this point.