The IDF has also
been forced to take action to counter subterranean threats.
Sophisticated seismic and acoustic equipment is employed to detect
Palestinian tunnels, but the extensive system of tunnels, used for
both smuggling and attack, left many tunnels undetected. Most tunnels
began under existing buildings hidden from Israeli observation. Some
led straight to the Egyptian border, and were used for transferring
arms and smuggling of contraband. Others served as access routes to
Israeli fortifications, which could then be destroyed by explosives.
Realizing the potential threat of such tunnels, the IDF attempted to
destroy tunnels by attacking them through ventilation ports with
explosives. At least one such attack was made with a
precision-guided JDAM bomb. To explore and map the tunnels, a new remotely controlled
robotic vehicle is used by IDF combat tunnel warfare teams. The
vehicle is lowered vertically into a tunnel, and moves independently
inside, charting the internal passages, and sending video images back
to the operators.
Rocket and Mortar Attacks
In 2003 and particularly 2004, the IDF repeatedly operated in the Gaza
strip, primarily in pursuit of mortar and rocket launcher teams, and
in search raids seeking to destroy weapons production facilities.
While many raids proved successful, Rocket Artillery and mortar (RAM) attacks continued and even
intensified, culminating in October 2004 in Operation Yemei Teshuva
(Days of Atonement) when the IDF launched a massive two-week action to
stop RAM attacks. The significance of this operation was in its method
Extending the Brigades
The Givati brigade was given total responsibility for the operation,
with direct command and control of all assets assigned to the
operation. Many forces had already received advanced communications
equipment, including remote video terminals, and hand held terminals,
which enabled helicopter pilots and gunners, and commanders of lead
infantry units to view real-time pictures as seen from UAVs and remote
observation platforms. Tight integration with ISA operatives enabled
rapid dissemination of intelligence information, at all levels,
followed by immediate implementation of operational activities.
Tactics were also refined. Improved integration between armor,
infantry and airborne forces enabled better coordinated activities,
taking advantage of the dense urban area to achieve initial surprise,
confuse the enemy and dominate the area for an extended period,
without risk to the civilian population. Key to such operations was
the brigade's reconnaissance company, which was strengthened to
battalion size and trained to execute rapid maneuvers deep inside the
refugee camps' narrow streets.
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