Report: IDF preparing for war with Hamas and Iranian proxies on several fronts

Israel’s military forces are preparing for a regional conflict that could find it facing multiple fronts, all backed by Iran.

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News
IDF Gaza border

Israeli forces on the border with Gaza. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)

The IDF has been training and preparing for another major war with the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip, Middle East News Online (MENL) reported on Thursday.

The last large conflict occurred during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. Since then, Hamas has been rebuilding its military might in preparation for another massive assault on Israel.

IDF sources told MENL that every military branch is training for another war with Hamas and its Palestinian allies in the Gaza Strip.

They said that Israel was also preparing for an eventuality in which Iran’s other proxies, and especially Hezbollah in the north, would launch a simultaneous front against Israel. Israel estimates that Hezbollah has an arsenal of some 100,000 rockets that it will fire at Israel’s population in the next war.

“The environment right now is one of complete uncertainty,” a military source said, according to MENL.

In December 2015, the Israel Air Force (IAF) reportedly held an exercise that simulated a range of threats.

The IAF flight course, which for the first time deployed the M-346 tactical simulator, included ground, aerial and search-and-rescue missions.

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“This is our first time using the simulator in such a wide scale manner and practicing operational flights with imagery and additional aircraft,” Sgt. Amit Lacker, an instructor, said.

The Israeli army has intensified combat exercises, particularly along the Gaza Strip and Golan Heights. The IDF is also reviewing its battle orders and preparing to replace its old M113 tracked armored personnel carriers with advanced tactical armored vehicles, which would provide the soldiers with better protection.

“In today’s reality, there’s no choice but to switch to lighter vehicles that have self-motion, high speed and relatively cheap price,” a Defense Ministry official said, according to MENL.

The preparations were said to reflect a military assessment that war could erupt in wake of the nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 powers, which would thaw billions of dollars in Iranian frozen assets that Iran would then funnel in part to fuel its global terror network.

“From time to time, they [Hamas] challenge us with rocket fire at Israeli territory,” Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said. “At times, a line as thin as a hair separates us from an incident that ends with rocket fire on an open area, to rocket fire that can lead to casualties and an escalation.”

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The last attack occurred late Sunday evening, when terrorists from Gaza launched a rocket at Israel’s civilian population. In response the IAF attacked two Hamas terror targets.