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Weapons That Could Be Used in Gaza Ground Operation

  • Israel is currently preparing for a ground invasion in Gaza. 
  • Israel receives billions in aid from the US, including weaponry like F-35 fighter jets. 
  • Meanwhile, Hamas uses weaponry from Russia and China. 

Israel is mobilizing for a ground operation in Gaza following Hamas’ deadly terror attacks last weekend that claimed more than 1,300 lives, many of them civilians.

In response, Israel’s airstrikes over the densely populated strip have killed 1,900 people so far, 614 of them children.

The Israel Defense Forces have not sent ground troops into Gaza since 2014, but since 2005, they have trained in urban warfare at a facility soldiers call “Mini Gaza.”

Israel’s military is far more potent than the Hamas militant group — partly due to the billions of dollars of US aid it receives. War experts told Insider’s Jake Epstein that an invasion of Gaza would still pose risks to innocent civilian life and friendly forces.

Here are some of the weapons and military gear Israeli forces will likely use — and what Hamas might use in response.

Israel Defense Forces

Israel has tanks and armored personnel carriers that could be used in the Palestinian territory.

Since the 1980s, the Merkava has been the main battle tank used by the IDF, according to the Times of Israel. The primary model used today is the Mark 4. The Merkava can carry a tank crew, including a commander, loader, gunner, driver, and eight infantry soldiers, according to Army Technology. The tank can fire at moving targets while also on the move.

The Merkava has been used to guard the Gaza border, and some appeared to be targeted by Hamas attacks on Saturday, Forbes reported. The outlet said the tank seems more likely to survive drone attacks than other tanks.

Armored personnel carriers, or APCs, can be likened to “battle taxis” and are generally lighter than main battle tanks, according to Forbes.

Israel’s new Eitan APC is a multi-purpose, 8×8 wheeled combat vehicle intended to replace the older M113 APCs that the IDF has used previously, according to Army Technology. The Eitan, which can carry a crew of three and nine additional soldiers, has high firepower capabilities and mobility, including in various types of terrain.

The first Eitans were delivered to the IDF’s Nahal Brigade in May, with the unit’s commander saying it would “transform the brigade and allow us to become more operational, independent and protected,” according to Breaking Defense.

In the sky, Israeli forces will most likely fly American F-35 jets. The stealth fighter jets, built by Lockheed Martin, are intended for strike missions and are made to evade missiles launched from the ground. 

In its most powerful configuration, the jet can carry four 500-pound GBU-12 laser-guided bombs on its wings, two GBU-12 in its internal weapons bay, and an AIM-9 air-to-air heat-seeking missile, Insider previously reported.

Israel will also have access to US Patriot missile defense system, which can launch four to 16 interceptor missiles against incoming cruise missiles, aircraft, and drones, Insider previously reported.

According to reports, Israel began using bombs known as “Bunker Busters,” meant to obliterate underground targets. The bombs penetrate the ground when dropped before setting off.

Israel could use these bunker busters to avoid having troops buried alive in tunnels and to destroy underground outposts, experts told Al Jazeera. Israel asked the US for the most advanced of these weapons — the GBU-72 — in 2021, the outlet reported.

Israel is also receiving military aid from other Western countries. In Germany, officials have approved using two Heron TP drones in Gaza out of five leased to the country, Reuters reported.


Hamas will use much scrappier weaponry than Israel’s multi-billion-dollar arsenal. 

Last Saturday, Hamas began its assault by utilizing paragliders to descend on a music festival being held near the border of Gaza. Experts told CNN that using this flying machinery is not common in warfare because it is exposed and hard to steer.

During Hamas’ attacks this week, CNN observed the militant group use machine guns strapped to the back of trucks, AK-47s, grenades, and even bulldozers. Per reports, Hamas has built a considerable stockpile of weapons, and experts told CNN that there was a likely possibility that Iran helped bolster the group’s supply.

Hamas has also employed thousands of rockets, but there is no sign yet that these rockets are guided, the AP reported. The militant group has also been observed using modified weapons from Russia and China, including Soviet-era Degtyarov-Shpagin Krupnokaliberny machine guns. The decades-old weapon, used by communist forces in Asia, is mounted on a tripod and can target lower-flying aircraft, according to the Air Force Museum. 

The militant group has used Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missiles for over a decade, Reuters reported. The laser-guided missiles have proved effective against Israel’s Merkava Tanks, Insider previously reported.

Long-range sniper rifles, like the Austrian Steyr HS.50, could also be included in Hamas’ arsenal. The group has also previously used booby-trapped tunnels and suicide bombers against Israeli forces.

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