Negev base, including booby-trapped homes, will prepare soldiers for Gaza, southern Lebanon ops.
By YAAKOV KATZ
In an effort to better prepare soldiers for operations in Gaza and southern Lebanon, the IDF Engineering Corps is building a mock Palestinian village in its training base in the Negev that will include booby-trapped homes.The facility will include a few dozen concrete structures with underground passageways and tunnels, and will be similar to an urban-warfare training center the IDF built several years ago next to the Tze’elim Training Base in the western Negev. The new facility will be unique since it will be modeled after the Gaza Strip where Hamas has established dozens of kilometers of tunnels connecting homes and command centers.“This is part of the lessons of Operation Cast Lead,” a senior Engineering Corps officer said last week. “The idea will be for soldiers to train on a real model of what they can expect to see inside Gaza or Lebanon.”During Operation Cast Lead last winter, IDF troops encountered thousands of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and hundreds of tunnel openings in homes and mosques.These IEDs were of varying types and deployed almost everywhere. Some were mines, buried underground and set to detonate as tanks or armored personnel vehicles passed above. Others were hidden in satellite dishes, stairwells, chicken coops, schools, zoos and mosques.The new training facility will enable the Engineering Corps to simulate real scenarios that troops will encounter in the future.Thecorps is also upgrading its Puma armored personnel carriers and hasbegun a plan to equip them with new night-vision systems and aspecially-designed rocket launcher that can fire projectiles atsuspected IEDs and destroy them.
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