The IDF would likely encounter suicide bombers, ambushes, and booby traps, according to General David Petraeus  Former CIA director David Petraeus © Getty Images / Leigh Vogel; Concordia Summit

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 group 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.

Conflict with Hamas to last for months – ex-Israeli defense chief Conflict with Hamas to last for months – ex-Israeli defense chief

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Conflict with Hamas to last for months – ex-Israeli defense chief

“It’s hard for me to imagine a more difficult setting than this particular one, and I was one who commanded forces in a number of major urban operations,” the general told Politico. “You don’t win counterinsurgencies in a year or two. They typically take a decade or more, as we saw in Iraq, as we saw in Afghanistan.”

Additionally, Petraeus stated that Israel already needs to think about how it intends to eventually restore and rebuild Gaza once it considers its battle against Hamas won.

Meanwhile, Israel’s former defense chief, Benny Gantz, also admitted on Wednesday that the conflict between Palestinian militants and the IDF is unlikely to end anytime soon, and will probably last “for months,” while rebuilding Gaza could take “years.”

The latest violent conflict between Hamas and Israel erupted on October 7 when the militant group launched a surprise missile and ground attack into the country. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that his country was at war, vowing massive retaliation. So far, the conflict has claimed the lives of more than 3,700 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis, according to official data.