Maj. Gal Mor and his force of ground troops were responsible for one of the IDF (Zahal)’s most important achievements during Operation Protective Edge. The Israel Navy, the Infantry Corps and the Armored Corps worked together to thwart an attempted infiltration by Hamas commandos.
On July 8, the Israeli coast was calm until suddenly, the water in the Mediterranean began to move in an unusual way. Cpl. Noa, one of the soldiers responsible for monitoring and defending the area, saw four armed terrorists moving along the beach towards Kibbutz Zikim in southern Israel. Immediately, the IDF (Zahal) forces in the area were notified and arrived at the scene.
Maj. Mor, the Erez Regional Control Post Commander, ordered his soldiers to open fire at the terrorists. Simultaneously, soldiers from the Givati Brigade and tanks from the Armored Corps arrived in the area. “The incident was really complicated; navy ships, infantry soldiers, tanks and Armored Corps vehicles as well as combat helicopters all took a part in thwarting the infiltration. Thanks to the success of the joint operation, we were able to stop the terrorists and avoid what could have possibly been a catastrophe.”
Hamas, a Threat Under Water
“Through this attempted infiltration, the terrorist organization intended to show its capacity and preparation, more than just the ability to fire rockets and build tunnels. Their intention was to surprise us from the sea and cause the most damage possible to civilians and soldiers in the area,” said Maj. Mor.
This was, without a doubt, one of the biggest attacks attempted by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge. The terrorists prepared for years to pull off an attack of this nature. They conducted diving courses and practiced various combat techniques. During the attack, the terrorists were armed with rifles, RPGs, grenades and explosives. “The terrorists were well equipped,” Maj. Mor. recounted. “During the confrontation they shot at us and threw grenades towards military posts.”
“The terrorist organization invests a lot of money, training, force and equipment in their naval commandos. The fact that we were able to stop an attack of this calibre, in which Hamas played ‘their best cards’, was a hard strike for Gazan terrorists,” affirmed Maj. Mor.
Learning from Errors
The Israel Navy is often faced with this type of challenge. “We are always thinking about what the enemy will do next, what they will try to do to surprise us,” assured Maj. Mor. “Our objective is to better our defensive tactics and prepare ourselves for the next attack.”
He explained that, “the sea is like a tunnel: you may know where the entrance is, but you can’t know where the exit is. They can come out of the sea and surprise us wherever they want.”
This is why the Israeli Navy has developed and established sonar throughout the coastal border, with the goal of detecting unusual movement in the water that could be possible terrorist attacks. This way the IDF (Zahal) can ensure a defensible border.
Maj. Mor told us that this year was a year of big accomplishments and technological advancements in the Israeli Navy. From the uncovering of the Iran weapons shipment the KLOS-C, to the new submarine INS Tanin that arrived in Israel, the Navy has grown and today is one of the strongest and most efficient naval forces in the world.