Israel Defense Forces Launches Massive 3-day War Simulation Drills
The Israel Defense Forces launched unannounced three-day drills simulating war that involve all branches of the military “including ground troops, armor, artillery and aircraft.” In a statement, the army noted that the exercises would “test the operational preparedness for a number of combat scenarios, especially in the Gaza Strip.” Indeed, this comes on the backdrop of rising tensions along the border with the Hamas-ruled enclave, which, in turn, follows a period of relative calm resulting from a tenuous cease-fire agreed to in November. Nevertheless, violent protests are again being staged at the frontier on a near-daily basis, while Hamas has instructed its Palestinian operatives to resume flying incendiary devices into Israel (albeit on a much smaller scale than last summer when the sides were on the brink of a full-blown conflict). Israel’s readiness for war has become a hot-button issue, after former IDF ombudsman Yitzhak Brick repeatedly warned that the army was suffering from severe deficiencies across multiple domains, and an ensuing tit-for-tat war-of-words with top military brass played out in the media. Israel also is facing a growing threat in the north from Iran, which is attempting to establish permanent military infrastructure in Syria and deliver precision-guided missiles to its Hizbullah underling in Lebanon.