October, in the IDF, was a month of challenges. Some were self-imposed, such as AC-12, the joint air defense exercise between the IDF and the U.S. Army. Others posed a serious threat to Israeli security, such as the enemy UAV breaching Israeli airspace, as well as heavy rocket barrages from the Gaza Strip. During the month of October alone, 183 rockets fired from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip hit Israel.

Here’s what happened in the IDF during October 2012:

October 6: IAF Intercepts UAV Infiltrating Israeli Airspace
An unmanned aerial vehicle infiltrated Israeli airspace at the beginning of October. The drone was intercepted immediately by the Israeli Air Force and was investigated by the IDF at the place where it was downed. Watch the video of the interception:

October 11: Remains of Missing IDF Soldier, Cpl. Majdi Halabi, Identified
Cpl. Majdi Halabi went missing since May 2005, having disappeared without a trace near his home town, Daliyat al-Karmel. After the remains were found near Usafiyah, they were investigated by the Institute of Forensic Medicine, and the DNA samples were matched to the missing soldier’s DNA. Read more about the discovery.

Israel Defense Forces: October 2012

Missing IDF soldier remains identified as Cpl. Majdi Halabi

October 14: Rocket Escalation Starts and Continues for One Week
The day started with several intense barrages of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli civilians. In one week alone, over 40 rockets hit southern Israel, causing severe damage to property and several shock victims. See the full timeline of the events here.

October 20: “Estelle” Attempts to Break Maritime Security Blockade on Gaza
“Estelle”, a Swedish vessel attempting to breach Israel’s maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip, was intercepted en route to the Strip. Israeli Navy Commando soldiers boarded the vessel without violence and safely redirected it towards the nearby Ashdod Port.

Israel Defense Forces: October 2012

The Swedish Vessel “Estelle”

October 21: National Home Front Exercise – Turning Point 6
The Home Front Command, along with the Home Front Ministry and other government bodies, conducted a week-long drill preparing emergency forces in Israel for earthquakes and natural disasters. For more read here.

October 22: For First Time Ever: Gaza Farmers Export Spices 
Already facilitating the export of agricultural goods and furniture, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has begun facilitating the export of spices from the Gaza Strip. Read more about Gaza’s new spices exports.

October 23: IDF Officer Severely Wounded by Hamas Attack 
Captain Ziv Shilon, a platoon commander in the Giv’ati Brigade, was severely wounded while on a routine patrol adjacent to the security fence near Kissufim, on the Israeli-Gaza border. Shilon received medical care and is now stable, but his hands were mangled. Read the full story.

Israel Defense Forces: October 2012

Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz visits Captain Ziv Shilon at the hospital

October 24: Second Rocket Escalation in Southern Israel
Not two weeks after the first escalation this month, the citizens of southern Israel were again faced with heavy rocket fire originating in the Gaza Strip. Two non-Israeli civilians were severely injured near Kissufim, where a farm suffered a direct hit. In 14 hours over 70 rockets hit Israel. View the full timeline of the escalation, or watch the photos.

Israel Defense Forces: October 2012

A chicken coop damaged by the rocket fire

October 25: US-Israel ‘Austere Challenge 12′ Exercise Launched
The combined US-Israeli drill ‘Austere Challenge 2012’ began. The exercise simulated various security situations, testing aerial defense systems such as the Iron Dome, Patriot and others. See it all here.

Israel Defense Forces: October 2012

Gen (*****) Martin E. Dempsey and Lt. Gen. Benny gantz meeting at Rabin (Hakyria) base

October 29: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Arrives in Israel
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen (*****) Martin E. Dempsey, visited Israel as part of the combined Israeli-American drill ‘Austere Challenge 12’, and met with IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz. Read about the outcome.