Gaza Division drill Nov 2013 370.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesman)
The IDF is in the middle of a large-scale military exercise in and around
Ashkelon, simulating a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.
held by the Gaza Division, simulates a clash with Hamas in which the aim is to
extinguish rocket fire against Israel as quickly as possible.
particular, the combined forces taking part in the drill are practicing their
ability to receive intelligence on the location of targets and direct their
firepower swiftly at them while advancing into enemy territory.
drill, which began this week, focuses on commanders and their operational plans,
and involves urban warfare techniques.
It will end on Wednesday
afternoon, Lt.-Col. Roy Svirski, commander of the 74th Armored Battalion, told
The Jerusalem Post
“This large exercise is aimed at
increasing the level of readiness among all field units, in combination with the
air force and navy,” Svirski said.
“The purpose is to ensure that a
[contingency] plan is prepared so that if necessary, on any given day, our
brigade crews will be ready to act with maximum effectiveness. The whole aim is
to maneuver in those areas [of Gaza where our presence will] result in quiet for
all residents of south and central Israel. We understand that the [rocket]
threat from Gaza long ago passed the 20-kilometer mark, and that central Israel
is affected, too.”
Other Hamas threats the exercise is simulating are
anti-tank missile strikes on civilian traffic and tunnel warfare
For the past four months, Svirski’s battalion members have
been out of their tanks and engaged in border patrol activities near Eilat, on
the border with the Sinai Peninsula.
“We can also work as infantry to
patrol borders and makes arrests, or carry out security missions in the
territories. Currently we’re carrying out vehicle patrols,” the commander
said. “But we can be called in a short time to enter battle arenas in tanks in
Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and maybe other areas in the future.”
situation in the Sinai border region, Svirski said the frontier was quiet, but
that this was “deceptive.”
“At the moment, most of the activity is
focused on stopping drug dealers. But we’re not confused for a second. It’s
clear to us that the real enemy is preparing the next terrorism attack,” he
said. “We expect it to be a surprise. Today, with everything that’s happening in
Egypt, an attack might be closer than ever.”
Despite the threats, Svirski
said residents of Eilat or those who visited it should continue to feel secure
in the knowledge that the IDF was effectively keeping the area safe.
on Tuesday, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel set off
code red sirens in the Ashkelon Coast Council region, but failed to reach its
destination, falling inside Gaza.
No injuries or damage were reported in