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Israeli-deployed AI in Gaza likely helps IDF reduce civilian casualties, expert says

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After loudly promoting the use of artificial intelligence The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have remained largely tight-lipped about the AI ​​systems they used on the battlefields of Gaza since Oct. 7 during the 11-day 2021 conflict with Hamas.

While many media outlets have speculated that Israel’s AI platforms are being used recklessly, Blaize Mistal, vice president for policy at the Jewish Institute for National Security Studies in America (JINSA), told Fox News Digital that he believes Israel is using AI-enabled drone swarms, mapping drones and targeting systems as a way to minimize civilian casualties as it hunts down Hamas terrorists hiding among civilians or in webs of tunnel systems under civilian buildings.

Mistal said available evidence suggests that drones are “a near-constant companion to ground troops moving around the Gaza Strip,” and that the IDF has told JINSA researchers that “each unit has its own mini air force that assists in troop movements.”

It is possible that a large number of AI-enabled drones are mapping the underground tunnels built beneath Gaza and protecting people passing through them while searching for terrorists and hostages. Elbit Systems “They can enter confined spaces above and below ground and explore dangerous areas while relaying intelligence and reconnaissance information in real time.”

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On January 24, an Israeli soldier launched a drone from a field in southern Israel along the border with the Gaza Strip. (Jack Guess/AFP via Getty Images)

Ghost Robotics is Ground drone “Vision 60” The company says the robots can “continuously push the boundaries to improve their ability to walk, run, crawl, climb and eventually swim in complex environments to keep soldiers, workers and police dogs safe from danger.”

Xtend UAV systems were initially developed to target Hamas incendiary balloons attempting to enter Israeli airspace, but have also been deployed in the Gaza Strip. Xtend’s Griffon Counter UAV can be used to find and destroy rogue drones, a critical mission as Iran and its proxies deploy, or train to deploy, drones against Israel.

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The “parallel” capability could refer to the use of drone swarms, groups of drones that communicate with each other and carry out commands using AI rather than human operators. Drone swarms were used in 30 sorties during Israel’s 2021 war. The Times of Israel reported.They helped Israel identify rocket launch sites used by Hamas.

The main AI-powered devices helping Israel avoid unnecessary civilian casualties are targeting systems known as “Gospel” and “Lavender.” Numerous media outlets have reported on these targeting systems, but Mistal said many have a “fundamental misunderstanding” of how they work. Observers have described these AI systems as capable of identifying and attacking targets. Mistal said the targeting systems have a “man-machine loop,” with human analysts first and then IDF lawyers making the final target approval decision.

Israeli drones

Israeli military helicopters and drones flew over the southern border with the Gaza Strip on May 30 as the conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorists continued. (Jack Guess/AFP via Getty Images)

Jonathan Conricus, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former Israel Defense Forces spokesman, also told Fox News Digital that while “reliance on AI and technology will increase, Israeli policy mandates human decision-making at key crossroads.”

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

Mistal said the Gospel system would identify likely targets such as “buildings, weapons storage facilities and rocket launchers,” while the Lavender system would use facial recognition technology to identify Hamas leaders and fighters.

The real benefit of utilizing these targeting systems is the ability to sift through the “constant stream of data” collected by Israel’s numerous air and ground assets, especially its new AI-equipped Oron reconnaissance plane. The patterns learned help the system identify likely targets. “If we can bring in the precision that machine learning allows, rather than the human eye, it helps us narrow down possible targets and minimize mistakes,” Mistal said.

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Israel Defense Forces in Rafah

The Israeli Defense Forces are seen operating in the Gaza Strip city of Rafah. (Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Office)

Data from Gospel and intelligence from AI-equipped mapping drones likely allowed the IDF to avoid the kind of situation Mistal said he encountered during an aerial battle with Hamas in 2021. Mistal said Israeli forces bombed shoddily constructed tunnels, causing homes built over them to collapse and resulting in civilian casualties.

With ground troops now in the mix and a better understanding of the tunnel network, Mistal said, the IDF can “find strategic intersections between the tunnels” and “seal them off and disable them” without risking the collapse of civilian facilities above terrorist hideouts. “This mapping process allows them to be much more precise,” Mistal concluded.

Hamas’ AI Strategy

Officers use a variety of information to identify and locate targets. (Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Office)

Mistal believes the use of lavender shows how much care Israel is taking to keep civilians out of the war zone. “We’ve heard that Israel is using facial recognition technology to screen people, civilians, moving through different parts of the Gaza Strip,” he said. “The IDF is setting up safe zones, telling people to evacuate, and monitoring those who are evacuating, because Hamas wants people to stay in their homes and remain as human shields.” Using facial recognition in these situations allows the IDF “to make sure that these protective measures are not being exploited by Hamas fighters.”

Though he has remained largely silent about their use, Mistal said Israel’s use of an array of AI-enabled systems “has become a standard part of its operational process” since 2021. Mistal said the IDF “told JINSA researchers that it was uncertain what it would find on the ground in Gaza” when faced with a new kind of warfare after Oct. 7, but “as it gained a better understanding of geometry and became better at deploying assets such as drones and other surveillance capabilities, it became much more capable of conducting surgical-like operations.”

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Hamas terrorists in Gaza

Military Palestinian Hamas terrorists in action in the Bani Suheila area of ​​the Gaza Strip on July 20, 2017. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

of Associated Press last week The AP published a report that supports Mistal’s view, claiming that the use of AI has reduced the number of civilian casualties. After analyzing data from the Gaza Ministry of Health, which researchers have long questioned, the report concluded that “the proportion of Palestinian women and children killed in the Israeli-Hamas war appears to have dropped sharply.” The AP acknowledged that this change “went unnoticed by the United Nations and many media outlets for months.”

AI has not only reduced casualties, but also enabled advanced operations that would otherwise require vast amounts of human capital. According to Conricus, “Without extensive use of technology and AI to automate and streamline complex or resource-intensive processes, Israel would need to increase its intelligence gathering and control infrastructure, which is frankly not a viable option. Thus, AI and advanced technology allow Israel to confront a multitude of threats within the limitations of its existing manpower and resources.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.