Earlier this month we saw the recent escalation with Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Terrorists fired rockets at Israel, and the Israeli Air Force countered with pinpoint strikes. In fact, the IAF struck 24 targets in the Gaza Strip, eliminating 26 terrorists and hurting four civilians.
But how does this really happen? How does an IAF pilot manage to hit a terrorist, and only a terrorist, while avoiding Palestinian civilian casualties?
- Archive: IDF (Zahal) thwarts rocket fire in the Gaza Strip
Today, we take you inside one of the most classified bases in the IDF (Zahal): the “Hammers Squadron”, which is home to the F-15 fighter jets. The pilots and intelligence officers here are the ones responsible for deciding whether or not to strike a target from a list that they call the “targets bank”–an IDF (Zahal) database of every known weapons warehouse or rocket launching site in the Gaza Strip.
F-15 pilot, minutes before takeoff
Following the rocket fire of terror organizations in the Gaza Strip, the pilots and intelligence officers are intimately familiar with the targets bank. On every mission to the Gaza Strip, the pilots can strike dozens of targets. One pilot elaborates:
“We are here to be the first line of defense for the citizens of Israel.”
An IAF operation room – where all flights are coordinated and timed
Before departing on a mission, pilots receive up-to-date intelligence information that will help them avoid any injuries to innocent bystanders. ”You must work in an orderly fashion and in accordance with procedures before you can strike any target,” said Lt. Shlomi, a combat navigator. “Additionally, there is always an unmanned aerial vehicle whose goal is to make sure that civilians are not in the danger zone.”
“When I read the news after my mission and see that there were no civilian casualties, it certainly makes me feel that I succeeded in my duty.”