IDF on Urban Warfare: "Civilian Casualties are Inevitable"


IDF on Urban Warfare: "Civilian Casualties are Inevitable"
© Getty Images News/Marwan Tahtan

In a candid conversation with CNN's Lynda Kinkade on Saturday, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), shed light on the challenging circumstances faced by the military in urban warfare. Lerner conveyed the IDF's commitment to minimizing civilian casualties, yet candidly remarked, “We will continue to minimize civilian casualties, but there will be civilian casualties, which is the nature of warfare in urban areas”.

Addressing the broader military goals against Hamas, Lerner emphasized that despite the "prospect of a ground operation", the IDF and its 300,000 recruits remain unwavering in their mission to defeat the organization. Reflecting on the human cost, he noted, “While each and every life that is taken is a tragedy, a true tragedy ...

it is our role to make sure Hamas can never hold the power of government, of terrorism, that they did”.

Evacuation Warnings and Safety Measures

An important topic of discussion was the evacuation warnings issued to institutions, notably the Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza.

Confirming the IDF's role in issuing these warnings, Lerner pointed to the risks associated with “coincidental debris” post-strike, which can inadvertently harm civilians and structures in the vicinity. He clarified the reasoning behind the warnings, stating, “There can be collateral damage caused, not by the strike but in the after-effects of the strike, and that is precisely why we're telling people, move south”.

In a further assurance to civilians, Lerner added that the southern regions are deemed to be safer in the ongoing conflict.

Addressing Hamas' Strategy

Lt. Col. Lerner also delved into the tactics adopted by Hamas, referring to it as “psychological terrorism”.

He highlighted the dire situation of hundreds of hostages, emphasizing the IDF's commitment to their safe return. “The IDF will do all they can to bring them back safely to Israel while keeping civilians and noncombatants out of harm's way,” Lerner asserted.

The interview offered a nuanced view of the challenges and strategies at play in a complex geopolitical situation. The candid acknowledgment of the inevitability of civilian casualties, combined with an affirmation of the IDF's dedication to reducing such incidents, provides insight into the harsh realities of modern urban warfare.