The best defense?
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov
Barak. Hamas responsible
Photo: Ariel Hermoni

IDF must change operational strategy, says senior officer

Army's operational strategies called into question as probe into Saturday's attack on Kerem Shalom crossing continues. 'Staying on the defense begs for an offense,' says senior IDF officer

The foiled terror attack on Kerem Shalom was an operational success on the IDF's part, but if the military continues its defensive strategies similar attacks in the future may carry graver results, a senior IDF officer told Ynet on Saturday. 


Thirteen IDF soldiers were moderately to lightly wounded Saturday morning, as Palestinian gunmen detonated car bombs, fired mortar shells and opened fire on the troops, in what was deemed by the IDF as a foiled abduction attempt.


"This was an obvious attempt to make an operational statement," said the officer. "The creativity demonstrated by the terrorists, was meant to carry out a 'quality' attack. Dead or kidnapped troops would have dramatically changed the situation in Gaza both over the holiday and in the future."


"It is also obvious that the IDF deployment in the area stopped that from happening, which carries not only great operational value for us, but a substantial morale defeat to the other side."


Nevertheless, the officer did admit that the latest string of attacks on the southern front, from the attack on the Nahal Oz fuel terminal, through the incident near Kibbutz Be'eri which left three IDF soldier dead, to Saturday's clashes, illustrate the problem in the IDF's operational strategy.


"It is not for us to determine when or how to operate in the Strip, we have clear orders and we carry them out; but when you're operating on the defense, you're asking for an offense – that's all part of it," he said


Soon after the attack on Nahal Oz many officers serving in the Southern Command warned that continuing the current strategy may result in harsher onslaughts.


'Worst attack since disengagement'

Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi visited the IDF's Southern Command several hours after the infiltration attempt. They were briefed on both incidents and  

both commended the troops on their actions, adding that Hamas will be held accountable.


Sources in the Southern Command admitted earlier in the week that the IDF's recent Operation Warm Winter was most effective, causing Hamas to lose dozens of operatives.


The operation, said a military source was the reason its following weeks were relatively calm, but with the decline in similar military operations its effectiveness fizzled.


IDF Southern Command Chief Major-General Yoav Galant said Saturday that the Kerem Shalom attack was "the worst attack we've seen since the disengagement."


"Hamas is using Israel's generosity and goes after the crossings used to make sure vital Palestinian needs are met… the Palestinians must realize they will achieve nothing but operational disappointments with these kinds of attacks," he added.


Galant commended the soldiers' tenacity, saying their actions prevented what could have been a mass causality event. "This was a quality operation by the Bedouin troops and those joining them and most of all it's a demonstration of our commanders and soldiers' tenacity."


פרסום ראשון: 04.20.08, 10:31
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