The last war that Israel faced in Gaza brought a new threat - terror tunnels. And now as Israel prepares for the next skirmish on its southern border, JNS' Yaakov Lappin tells us that the IDF will face a new kind of ground combat - one that will involve civilians and general chaos:
Since Hamas came to power in the Gaza Strip more than a decade ago, it has built, trained, and armed a terrorist-army and guerilla force, and planted it in high-rise buildings, underground bunkers, and tunnels, in the midst of the civilian population.
Israel and Hamas have engaged in three large-scale conflicts and numerous smaller-scale flare-ups over the past ten years, and, as the IDF looks ahead to the future, it is preparing new ways for its units to operate in this urban warfare jungle, if the need arises.
The Israel Defense Forces recently held a war exercise for its infantry commanders to prepare them for the challenges of combat in Gaza.
The drill, held by the Givati infantry brigade, played out over a number of areas, including the southern city of Ashkelon, where officers simulated fighting in and around tall residential towers.
In Gaza, such multistory buildings double up as military bases for Hamas’s armed wing. The terror group uses them as command posts, lookouts and firing positions for its cells. Such buildings will, in the IDF’s assessment, be used as positions by Hamas cells armed with shoulder-fired missiles, sniper rifles and additional heavy firepower.
The exercise showed the commanders how to operate in such an environment, as well as served to teach them how to train their own soldiers...