The Israeli military on Wednesday completed a four-day exercise named “Four Seasons,” designed to prepare it for the next clash with Gaza.
The large-scale exercise was “another significant step in improving the IDF’s operational preparedness in the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said in a statement, adding that the drill was “preplanned as part of the training schedule for 2019.”
The maneuver, the largest exercise by the IDF Gaza Division since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, also simulated war on multiple fronts.
During the drill, troops took to the streets of the city of Ashkelon in the middle of the night to simulate Gaza’s urban environment. Other scenarios included maritime attacks by terrorist groups in the Strip, evacuation of wounded soldiers, IDF incursions into northern Gaza, as well as attacks on civilian communities and the evacuation of communities along the border.
Forces also exercised fending off drones, which can gather intelligence and potentially carry explosives. Attacking and destroying rocket-launching cells in Gaza is also getting attention, and military officials assess the integration of advanced firepower and technological capabilities would lead to unprecedented results.
The IDF has apparently revamped its combat doctrine for the Gaza Strip. Speaking to reporters at the end of the drill, military officials said that in a future conflict in Gaza, the IDF will deliver a severe blow to Hamas that would weaken the organization but not topple it, so it would still be able to govern the Strip.
“A very comprehensive and serious process has been carried out here,” IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said at the conclusion of the exercise. “I get the impression that the level of preparedness for a possible campaign in the Gaza Strip is very, very high. We will continue preparing, on the assumption that a conflict could erupt any day.”
[Sources: World Israel News, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, The Times of Israel]