Nine out of 10 Israel’s war dead Monday died on Israeli soil – a microcosm of the IDF operation

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
By Paul Martin

DEBKA.com
July 29, 2014

That nine of the 10 Israeli servicemen who died in the counter-terror operation against Hamas Monday, July 28, were killed on Israeli soil was a wake-up call for Israel’s war leaders. It meant that Hamas had used the 22 days of combat to carry the contest from its own home ground into Israel by grabbing the tactical advantage of surprise.

The Nahal Oz encounter was a tragic microcosm of the current face of Operation Defensive Edge.

The tunnel, from which a band of Hamas infiltrators jumped out – and about whose existence the IDF admits to have known – ran app. 150 meters from Shejaiya in Gaza to the military pillbox guarding Kibbutz Nahal Oz. Between five and seven terrorist nonetheless were allowed to reach their destination armed to the teeth with automatic and anti-tank and explosives.

This brought two facts to light: First, the battle for Shejaiya was not over, although it had slipped out of sight. According to debkafile’s military sources, the shattered town has become a no-man’s land where Hamas gangs hide out for attacks on Israeli troops.

Second, while the IDF and government officials issue upbeat communiqués claiming that the entire tunnel problem will be disposed of in a matter of days – one officer asserted that the IDF is in control of all the terror tunnels – the Nahal Oz episode told a different story.

That it was allowed to happen shows that: –

1. Although the secret passage used for attacking Nahal Oz was known to the military command, the unit charged with its defense was taken by surprise with tragic results: five Israeli combatants lost their lives. The single defender who survived opened fire on the infiltrators and put them to flight, so stopping them snatching the bodies of the fallen men as bargaining counters.
2. Even if the IDF had decided to leave the tunnel shaft open for operational use, such as a secret route for Israeli troops to steal into Gaza behind enemy lines, it must still be asked why not fit it with sensors and cameras for tracking invaders and sounding the alarm?

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