Israel conducts combat exercises simulating a ground invasion of Gaza

Israel’s Nahal Infantry Brigade has conducted regimental exercises along with the Armored Corps, Combat Engineering Corps and Israeli Air Force UAVs and warplanes, according to Ynetnews.

Thousands of soldiers from the Israeli army’s Nahal Infantry Brigade—including the 50th, 931st and 932nd battalions—conducted a multiday, brigade-level combat exercise in the Golan Heights this week, which ended on Thursday, according to the Israeli news website.

The exercise, which began at the beginning of the week, simulated a ground maneuver in the Gaza Strip, which was on a bigger scale and would’ve gone deeper into enemy territory than the ground operation during Operation Protective Edge. During the summer 2014 war, it was the Nahal Brigade that first went into the Gaza Strip, taking over the outskirts of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia.

During the exercise—which was overseen by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot—soldiers simulated a number of combat exercises including offensive scenarios and maneuvers such as overtaking a residential neighborhood and clearing high-rise buildings, similar to the conditions in Gaza City and other cities in the northern part of the strip.

During the last 24 hours of the exercise, soldiers conducted other drills simulating combat in the north of the country—terrain similar to that of Lebanon—that is marked by rocky, open ground.

In addition to soldiers from the Nahal, tanks from the Armored Corps’ 401st battalion, combat engineers, UAVs and IAF warplanes took part in the joint maneuvers.

“The soldiers understand now more than ever the kind of challenges that await them in the next war, because the exercise included quite a few challenges they were familiar with and also some they weren’t, surprises we prepared for them,” Lt. Col. Oren, the commander of the brigade’s reconnaissance battalion, told Ynet.

“Because of the weather, we did our training primarily at night and mostly rested during the day,” he went on to say, noting the exercise concluded without any safety incidents thanks to limitations put on training because of the high temperatures.

“Every soldier in the brigade touched upon the world of tunnels in one way or another during this exercise,” he said. “The reconnaissance battalion soldiers drilled mapping and investigating tunnels, going into them and fighting inside them with the aid of robots and special systems.”