From the gathering point of the troops at the Kissufim area, the tanks and armored personnel carriers moving near the houses deep in the Gaza Strip are clearly visible. The skies above the Strip are cloudy, it rains occasionally, and black smoke cuts through the drops.
“What’s burning out there, damnit? Is it ours or theirs?” asks a non-commissioned officer with concern as he awaits the order to move in. Nobody has an answer for him. This is the thin line between success and failure on the battlefield.
Suddenly, reports start pouring in: An IDF soldier has been injured in the Strip. His condition is unclear. One of the soldiers goes behind a tank, so nobody will see him cry. Soon after he regains his composure, wipes away the tears, and goes back to his comrades.
“There is no time for feelings,” a reserve soldier says. “We must work efficiently and get out of there quickly.”
The troops operating in the central Gaza Strip are looking for indications of terror activity and Qassam launching cells. Forces belonging to the Golani Brigade, Armored Corps, and Engineering Corps are sharing the burden. Meanwhile, Air Force choppers are observing developments from above.
Since Wednesday night, an actual war has been going on here. So far, several terrorists have been killed, yet terror groups are firing back.
We find out that a Golani soldier sustained serious wounds as a result of RPG fire. “This activity will not solve the problem with the terrorists, and it will certainly not stop the rocket fire on Sderot,” says one soldier. “But what’s a better option, to do nothing?
“I am very tense,” says another soldier, who came out of the Strip following a night of activity. “It’s a very complex deal out there. I did not imagine it was like that. It was my first time inside the Strip. I hope to go back in there as early as tonight. There’s still plenty of work to do in there.”
The soldier says that he and his comrades are determined to act. They heard that a soldier was wounded, and that dampened their spirits a little, yet they are eager to continue. One night of activity is not enough for them.
“I have no doubt that we are acting in order to advance a specific objective. The solution may still be very far off, but it’s the right path,” says one soldier. “I feel we are going through a wave of success, just like the last targeted eliminations, so we need to take advantage of the momentum.”
The activity in the Strip will continue for the next few days as well. IDF Southern Command officers do not know yet when the soldiers will come out. At this time it appears the troops will continue to deepen their presence in the Strip. Meanwhile, the Qassam rocket attacks are not showing any sign of subsiding either.