American military officials are trying to steer Israel away from the type of brutal, urban combat the US engaged in against insurgents during the Iraq War, in an effort to keep the Israelis from getting bogged down in bloody, house-by-house fighting as they prepare for an assault on Gaza, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
In helping the Israel Defense Forces game out a number of different strategies to defeat Hamas, US military advisers on the ground in Israel are invoking lessons learned specifically from Fallujah in 2004, one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq War.
Instead of launching a full-scale ground assault on Gaza, which could endanger hostages, civilians, and further inflame tensions in the region, US military advisers are urging Israelis to use a combination of precision airstrikes and targeted special operations raids.
They are also drawing on strategies developed during the battle by US-led coalition forces to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS, which relied more heavily on special operations forces. Like Hamas, ISIS built tunnels throughout Mosul and used civilians as human shields, and the fight to retake the city was harder and more drawn-out than anticipated.
To help deliver this message, the Biden administration has sent a three-star Marine Corps general to counsel the IDF on planning its tactical assault. Gen. James Glynn, the former commander of Marine Forces Special Operations Command, has significant experience with urban warfare in Iraq, particularly in Fallujah, where he commanded troops during some of the bloodiest fighting there between US forces and insurgents, officials said.
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