Israel conducts army drill near besieged Gaza Strip

Israel conducts army drill near besieged Gaza Strip
2 min read
27 October, 2021
Known as 'Southern Storm', the mock escalation drill appears to build upon Israel's deadly bombing of the besieged Palestinian territory in May.
The drill intends to build upon Israel's deadly May bombing of Gaza [MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty-file photo]

Israel began a mock military escalation drill on Tuesday close to the Gaza Strip, months after its deadly bombardment of the besieged Palestinian territory.

Known as "Southern Storm", Israel's army said the training exercise is to continue on Wednesday and covers various operational situations, Israeli media reported.

"As part of the exercise, there will be noticeable movement of security forces and vehicles, explosions will be heard in the area, and roadblocks will be set up on a number of roadways in the area near the border," Israel's army said. 

The military noted these are mock checkpoints, meaning no road closures. The drill appears aimed at building on Israel's deadly May campaign against Gaza, which lasted 11 days and killed 256 Palestinians, among them 66 children.

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"The exercise is meant to improve [Israeli army] troops' preparedness to defend the area around the Gaza Strip.

"It will test the way in which the lessons from Operation Guardian of the Walls [Israel's deadly May campaign] were integrated, while putting troops through many possible offensive scenarios by terror groups."

Thirteen died in Israel after Palestinian factions in Gaza, particularly Hamas, launched missiles from the enclave.

The fighting ended with a truce mediated by Egypt.

The UAE is meanwhile taking part in Israel's largest "Blue Flag" military exercises this week.

The drills will involve 70 fighter jets and some 1,500 personnel, according to Al Jazeera.

No Emirati aircraft are taking part in the exercise but the UAE air force head will observe the operation.