11/24/2020

The Israeli occupation force launched a four-day surprise military exercise

Israeli soldiers walk outside the Gaza Strip as they proceed towards Gaza August 2, 2014. Hamas claimed responsibility on Saturday for a deadly Gaza Strip ambush in which an Israeli army officer may have been captured, but said the incident likely preceded and therefore had not violated a U.S.- and U.N.-sponsored truce. Palestinian officials say 1,653 Gazans, mostly civilians, have been killed. Sixty-three Israeli soldiers have been killed, and Palestinian shelling has killed three civilians in Israel. Israel launched a Gaza air and naval offensive on July 8 following a surge of cross-border rocket salvoes by Hamas and other Palestinian guerrillas, later escalating into ground incursions centred along the tunnel-riddled eastern frontier of the enclave but often pushing into residential areas. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY CONFLICT)

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The Israeli military kicked off a surprise four-day military exercise on Sunday morning, where soldiers participated in a mock war scenario in the Gaza Strip.

The large-scale exercise comes as Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) struck a number of Hamas targets overnight Sunday in the coastal enclave following a Gaza rocket attack.

The IDF said, however, that the war games were planned several weeks ago and were unrelated to recent events.

Four surprise training missions have already been organized since the appointment of Aviv Kochavi as Chief of Staff in January 2019.

Previous exercises included testing the military’s ability to handle a West Bank kidnapping; a war against Hezbollah in northern Israel; countering a massive cyberattack; and responding to maritime threats from the north.

“During the exercise, the [Gaza] division’s abilities to handle a variety of events, while cooperating between branches of the military will be tested,” the IDF said in a statement.

According to the IDF, units of conscripts and reservists will participate in the exercise. Residents of the south should therefore expect to see troops, vehicles, and planes operating near the border with Gaza.

Although the Jewish state is in talks with the group Hamas to find a long-term ceasefire agreement, recent weeks have seen an upsurge in attacks from Gaza.

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