Photo Credit: IDF blog
IDF Gaza War drill 2020

The Israel Defense Forces launched a surprise military drill on Sunday morning enacting a scenario in which the Jewish State is facing a war with terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

The exercise was pre-planned, according to IDF brass, however, and was not related to the events of this weekend, which included a rocket attack that was launched on Saturday night from northern Gaza at the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon.

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Gaza Terrorists Launch Rocket Attack on Ashkelon, No Physical Injuries

The IDF responded overnight to the rocket attack with its usual restraint; no casualties were reported. On Sunday, the commander of the Air Force, Major General Amikam Nurkin, and the commander of the Air Defense Forces, Brigadier General Ran Kochav (Renko), toured the Gaza Division units. During the past week and during Sunday’s visit, the Air Force Commander was presented with the data from the recent rocket attacks fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.

Saturday night’s rocket attack was not a direct cause of Sunday’s military drill but it certainly adds more justification for the exercise, which has been on the schedule for a number of weeks and which is expected to test the abilities of its participants in skills that are most needed when the chips are down.

“During the exercise the abilities of Gaza Division forces to handle a variety of events during cooperation between [various] branches of the military will be tested,” the IDF said.

In addition to the Gaza Division other forces included those from the Air and Space division, the Naval division, the ICT and Cyber Defense Division, the Intelligence Division, the Intelligence Community and the Israel Police.

Recruits and reservists will both be participating in the drill, the IDF said. The scenarios included, among other things, responding to operational and emerging events at the border. The exercise is being used to examine inter-organizational and multi-armed cooperation, the work interfaces between the forces, and decision-making in a multi-dimensional event.

One of the tests involved practicing a scenario of a cyberattack and the shutdown of operational systems in the division. The scenario was intended to prepare commanders in the field for multi-dimensional warfare; this was carried out by the ‘red team.’

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Col. Aviv Kochavi conducted the test remotely through classified military communications. Field management of the exercise was maintained together with the Operations Division and the IDF Comptroller Unit.

Residents of southern Israel should expect to see movement of troops, military vehicles and aircraft operating near the Gaza border.

This is not the first surprise training drill launched by the military since Kochavi began his term in January 2019. Four such military exercises have been organized since the IDF Chief of Staff, was appointed to his post, including drills with scenarios of an ambush and kidnapping in Judea and Samaria, a conflict with Hezbollah in northern Israel, a maritime threat demanding a response in the north, and a scenario involving ways to counter a massive cyberattack.

None of the scenarios are fantasies: in fact, all four scenarios have taken place in some form in the Jewish State.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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