IDF’s Gaza maps now show sensitive sites

New maps highlight 3,000 buildings and various infrastructure sites that should not be attacked like UN facilities, schools, homes, etc.

April 10, 2011 02:20
1 minute read.
IDF soldiers on tank near Gaza border

IDF soldiers on tank near Gaza border 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

The army has updated its maps of the Gaza Strip since Operation Cast Lead with a massive and unprecedented increase in the number of sensitive installations and buildings marked as offlimits for IDF attacks.

During Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, maps used by commanders operating on the ground in Gaza highlighted some 1,800 buildings and various infrastructure sites that should not be attacked and next to which troops needed to operate with extra sensitivity.

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The list included hospitals, United Nations facilities, schools, power grids, flour mills, food storage centers and various homes and office buildings.

Senior IDF officers have told The Jerusalem Post that new maps being drafted by the Gaza Division in the Southern Command ahead of a possible future operation in Gaza now include more than 3,000 sites that are off-limits to attacks.

The list is composed by the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, which receives the location and identification of each site, mostly from nongovernmental organizations and the Palestinian Authority. Each site is then reviewed by Military Intelligence and other security agencies.

“This is part of our preparations for a future conflict in Gaza,” a senior officer told the Post last week. “We hope that this will assist us in minimizing civilian casualties and damages to civilian infrastructure.”

With violence escalating along the Gaza border, the possibility of another ground offensive in the Strip appears more likely as more than 150 rockets and mortar shells slammed into the western Negev over the weekend.

IDF sources said that while the maps would help commanders identify civilian sites in Gaza, it did not mean that they would not be damaged during a future operation.

“There are cases where Hamas builds military bases and weapons storage centers next to medicine factories,” one officer said. “This is the way Hamas fights, cynically taking advantage of civilian infrastructure.”

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