Inside ‘Little Gaza,’ where Israeli soldiers are training for invasion

17:48, Thursday, 26 October, 2023
Inside ‘Little Gaza,’ where Israeli soldiers are training for invasion

In the sun-torched plains of southern Israel, thousands of soldiers wait for the go-ahead from politicians and commanders to do what the Israeli military has trained for years to do: fight in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military has built a replica of a generic Palestinian village nicknamed “Little Gaza” at a base in the Negev Desert, where soldiers train for combat against armed terrorists in narrow streets and a labyrinth of tunnels.

On Wednesday afternoon, a group of Israeli soldiers took part in a penetration drill, practicing how to invade the village from the desert. From a berm on the edge of the simulated town, they moved among minarets protruding from mosques and rectangular, white houses, some painted with graffiti depicting the late Yasser Arafat, and young men throwing rocks.

The soldiers faced off with men dressed in black T-shirts, pretending to be Hamas militants, shouting esh, esh, esh, repeating the Hebrew word for “fire,” when they shot at them. They practiced carrying injured soldiers out of the village and how to spot terrorists in the windows of buildings.

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