Recognizing that the next battles with Hizbullah and Hamas will be fought in densely populated areas, the IDF is significantly increasing the number of urban warfare centers it has to train troops for future complex operations.
The Ground Forces Command recently approved plans to increase the number of urban warfare training centers by 50 percent by the end of 2011. Currently, there are about 15 different training centers scattered throughout the country, the largest of which is located near the Tze’elim Base in the Negev.
Two of the new centers will be built with underground sections so IDF troops can simulate the type of combined urban-tunnel warfare they would encounter in a future war in southern Lebanon against Hizbullah or in the Gaza Strip against Hamas.
The Ground Forces Command has also decided that 25% of an infantry soldier’s training is to be in urban warfare centers.
One example is a mock Palestinian village the IDF is building at the Combat Engineer training base in the Negev that is modeled after urban areas in Gaza and Lebanon where, the IDF believes, Hamas and Hizbullah have booby-trapped homes and built underground passageways stretching dozens of kilometers.
In addition, at the center near Tze’elim, the IDF is widening some of the roads that run through the mock Palestinian town to allow tanks to also participate in the training sessions.
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