Facing a growing kidnapping threat, the IDF Ground Forces Command has established a new training regimen to train soldiers how to fight off a Hamas or Hizbullah kidnapping attempt. The decision to establish the new course was made following Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, during which Hamas operatives made a number of attempts to kidnap IDF soldiers. In one case, a soldier from the Golani Brigade was grabbed by a Hamas operative who had popped out of a tunnel inside a home that was being searched by the IDF. Following these incidents, soldiers told their commanders that they felt they did not have enough skills to fight off the kidnappers. Following the operation, the Ground Forces Command set up a team of officers to recommend changes to the current training regimen based on findings from the almost two-week ground offensive in Gaza. "This is strategic threat for the State of Israel," one officer explained. "We need to give our soldiers the feeling that they are capable of fighting off kidnappers." One of the recommendations was to sharpen troops' skills on how to fight off kidnappers not just with their machine gun but also when the soldier's ammunition runs out or when he is taken by surprise. According to the team's findings, soldiers lose a large percentage of their energy after a 15-second face-to-face struggle with kidnappers and therefore need to learn specific skills on how to fend off a kidnapper. The course will be taught to soldiers by health fitness instructors in IDF brigades.