The Israeli army is to hold “a wide-scale drill simulating a ground operation” in the occupied Gaza Strip, reported Israel Hayom.
The military confirmed that a scheduled “wide-scale exercise simulating a ground incursion of Gaza City” by the Southern Command’s 162nd Division will indeed go ahead this week.
Gaza City is the largest city in the blockaded territory.
According to the news site, “Armoured, Infantry, Engineering and Artillery corps’ troops will drill various urban warfare scenarios using areas in Beersheba and several Negev Bedouin towns”.
Israel Hayom added that the exercise “is the first of its kind in years”, and that Southern Command officials believe the drill to be “of great importance to the troops’ combat readiness”.
“GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi met last week with Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich and briefed him of the exercise’s objectives. Danilovich said the municipality would lend the IDF any assistance necessary”, the report continued.
According to a senior Southern Command officer, “in an event of further security escalation between Israel and Hamas, the 162nd Division would be scrambled to the border”.
Last month, Israeli media reported that the military had prepared plans for a full-scale invasion of the occupied Gaza Strip, in the event of a serious escalation in the south.