“For the first time, artificial intelligence was a key component and power multiplier in fighting the enemy,” a senior officer in the IDF intelligence corps said. “This is a first-of-its-kind campaign for the IDF, we implemented new methods of operation and used technological developments that were a force multiplier for the entire IDF.”
In 11 days of fighting in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military carried out intensive strikes against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets, stating that they were hitting key infrastructure and personnel belonging to the two groups.
While the Israeli military relied on what was already on the civilian market and adapted it for military purposes, in the years prior to the fighting, the IDF established an advanced AI technological platform that centralized all data on terror groups in the Strip onto one platform that enabled the analysis and extraction of the intelligence.
Soldiers in the IDF’s elite 8200 unit pioneered algorithms and code that led to several new programs called “the Alchemist,” “Gospel” and “Depth of Wisdom” that were developed and used during the fighting.
Collecting data using signal intelligence (SIGINT), visual intelligence (VISINT), human intelligence (HUMINT), geographical intelligence (GEOINT) and more, the IDF has mountains of raw data that must be combed through in order to find the key pieces necessary to carry out a strike.
A system developed by Unit 8200 dubbed “the Gospel” that used AI to generate recommendations for troops in the research division of military intelligence was used to produce quality targets and would then pass them on to the IAF to strike.
“For the first time, a multidisciplinary center was created that produces hundreds of targets relevant to developments in the fighting, allowing the military to continue to fight as long as it needs to with more and more new targets,” the senior officer said.
While the IDF had gathered thousands of targets in the densely populated coastal enclave over the past two years, hundreds were gathered in real time including missile launchers that were aimed at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The military believes that using AI helped shorten the length of the fighting, having been effective and quick in gathering targets using super-cognition.
The IDF carried out hundreds of strikes against Hamas and PIJ, including rocket launchers, rocket manufacturing, production and storage sites, military intelligence offices, drones, residences of commanders, and Hamas’s naval commando unit where Israel has destroyed most of the group’s infrastructure and weaponry including several autonomous GPS-guided submarines that can carry 30 kilograms of explosives.
The IDF’s Unit 9900’s satellites that have gathered GEOINT over the years was able to automatically detect changes in terrain in real-time so that during the operation, the military was able to detect launching positions and hit them after firing.
For example, troops from Unit 9900 using satellite imagery were able to detect 14 rocket launchers that were located next to a school.
The IDF also killed over 150 PIJ and Hamas operatives, many of them considered senior commanders or irreplaceable in their roles, especially those who led the R&D in the missile projects.
He was killed along with Hamas cyber and missile technology chief Jomaa Tahla, Jemal Zebda who was the head of the group’s Development and Projects Department and 13 members of the faction’s weapons manufacturing.
Hamas’s underground “Metro” tunnel network was also heavily damaged over the course of several nights of airstrikes. Military sources said that they were able to map the network consisting of hundreds of kilometers under residential areas to a degree where they knew almost everything about them.
The mapping of Hamas’s underground network was done by a massive intelligence gathering process that was helped by the technological developments and use of Big Data to fuse all the intelligence. Once mapped, the IDF was able to have a full picture of the network both above and below ground with details such as the depth of the tunnels, their thickness and the nature of the routes. With that, the military was able to construct an attack plan that was used during the operation.
While the IDF acknowledges that they haven’t destroyed the entire network, they assert that they struck parts of the network that make it nearly impossible for Hamas to use again. And, the ability of the IDF to crack Hamas’s network and completely map it, removes one of the central dimensions of Hamas’s combat strategy.
“Years of work, out-of-the-box thinking and the fusion of all the power of the intelligence division together with elements in the field led to the breakthrough solution of the underground,” the senior officer said.
Using the data gathered and analyzed by AI, the Israel Air Force was able to use the appropriate munitions to hit a target, be it an apartment, a tunnel or a building.
The IDF also used a system dubbed “the Alchemist” which was developed by Unit 8200 and used AI and machine learning to alert troops in the field to possible attacks by Hamas or PIJ. The dynamic and updating system was used by every unit commander in the field who had the system on a user-friendly tablet.
The military says that the attack that killed St.-Sgt. Omer Tabib is currently being investigated as troops had been alerted to the possibility of anti-tank fire targeting their jeeps outside the community of Netiv Ha’asara.
Tabib was the only IDF soldier killed in the fighting.
The military also relied heavily on intelligence in order to carry out precision strikes in an attempt to minimize civilian casualties.
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said at least 243 Palestinians were killed during the fighting, including 66 children and teens, with 1,910 people wounded. The Israeli military says over 100 operatives belonging to the terror groups were killed and that some of the civilian casualties were caused by Hamas rockets falling short or civilian homes collapsing after an airstrike on Hamas’s tunnel network.