Israel’s conflict with Palestinian militant group Hamas could become even more violent and drag on for years to come if Israeli forces launch a ground operation in Gaza, former CIA chief David Petraeus warned in an interview with Politico on Thursday.
Speaking on the outlet’s Power Play podcast, the US general, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, claimed that a ground invasion of Gaza by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) “could be Mogadishu on steroids very quickly.”
Petraeus was referring to the 1993 incident in which three US Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in the capital of Somalia, leading to a fierce battle between local militants and American forces who attempted to rescue the crash survivors.
The former spy chief suggested that if Hamas turns out to be “as creative in the defense” as they were in the “horrific, barbaric, unspeakable attack” on Israel on October 7, “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 noted that given his personal experience leading armies engaged in counterinsurgency campaigns, he doesn’t believe the IDF’s operation could be won quickly, and might even take over a decade.