COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The death toll in the fight between Israel and Hamas has climbed to at least 2,000 on both sides. Another day of relentless airstrikes is expected to push that number higher.

WRBL’s Kenzie Beach sat down with U.S. Army Retired Major General Pat Donahoe Tuesday afternoon. The General broke down Saturday’s surprise attack on Israel and the military operation ahead. 

General Donahoe tells WRBL this attack by Hamas was very well planned, disciplined, and violently executed. He breaks down a number of things that make this attack different, like being able to watch a war play out in real time in the palm of your hand.

“What is really different about this attack by Hamas, on the state of Israel, is the surprise.”

Maj. Gen. Pat Donahoe (Ret.) – U.S. Army

Close to 900 lives were taken in just one day on October 7th, in what some are calling Israel’s 9/11.

“In our 9/11 we lost 3,000 people, this is 10 times the effect. The other piece of this that is really different, is Hamas was able to capture, kidnap, seize more than 100 Israelis and many of them citizens of other nations.”

Maj. Gen. Pat Donahoe (Ret.) – U.S. Army

With the mass casualties of civilians including the public torture of women and children. The General says the challenge remains: ‘How do you exact the price on Hamas?’ He says the political objective is to destroy Hamas in the Gaza strip, something that would be extremely bloody. 

“This will have to be a fight both on the ground, in the high rise buildings in the urban areas in Gaza, and the underground. That’s going to be a very difficult, a very bloody, bare knuckle fight. They are going to have to go into the populated areas in the Gaza Strip, to root out those members of the Hamas leadership. That is a very difficult operation to do, specifically if you are concerned about civilian casualties and collateral damage.”

Maj. Gen. Pat Donahoe (Ret.) – U.S. Army

When asked if Hamas is identified as a terrorist group by the U.S., General Donahoe said, 

“They are… When we look at terrorist groups like these. They are successful when they operate in small groups. Those small groups don’t know what the other small groups around them are doing. So they can train for one portion of the mission and not have any understanding of the other parts of the mission. Then the leadership puts that all together.”

Maj. Gen. Pat Donahoe (Ret.) – U.S. Army

And that is what we saw on October 7th.

“We are watching this play out right now in real time. When you look at this attack, a very well planned, disciplined, and violently executed attack by Hamas.”

Maj. Gen. Pat Donahoe (Ret.) – U.S. Army

General Donahoe says the Iranian connected extremist group is well aware Israel has an advantage over Hamas when it comes to technical surveillance and airpower to target Hamas hubs within the Gaza Strip. General Donahoe fears, since 2014, the last time Israelis were in the Gaza Strip, the capabilities have only grown.

“The Israelis found a bunch of underground facilities that had been built by Hamas. We can only imagine in the 9 years that has evolved and that those systems are much greater today.”

Maj. Gen. Pat Donahoe (Ret.) – U.S. Army

The general believes this conflict will not be solved in the short term. 

“I think in the next week we will see and incursion by the Israelis, what size that takes will tell us how long that will go on and the Israelis by doing that are understanding they will suffer a number of casualties.”

Maj. Gen. Pat Donahoe (Ret.) – U.S. Army

General Donahoe tells WRBL in terms of the United States’ involvement, we want to contain this fight to the Gaza Strip. 

In the long term, the Israeli Government will be looking into the failures that lead to this surprise attack as Hamas was able to hide over 5,000 missiles that were fired on Saturday.

As for Fort Moore, General Buzzard and the Maneuver Center of Excellence will continue to use situations like this as a learning environment.