See the desert ghost town Israeli soldiers call ‘Mini Gaza,’ where the Israel Defense Forces train for urban warfare – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

See the desert ghost town Israeli soldiers call ‘Mini Gaza,’ where the Israel Defense Forces train for urban warfare

Israeli soldiers gather during an urban warfare exercise at an army training facility, in Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Jan. 4, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

Israel appears to be preparing for a ground operation in Gaza following the Hamas terror attacks.
The IDF has a dedicated Urban Warfare Training Center, dubbed “Mini Gaza,” for such operations.
The mock city includes 600 structures and murals of Palestinian fighters on its concrete walls.

Israel Defense Forces appear to be gearing up for a potential invasion of Gaza following the Hamas terror attacks last week.

Israeli authorities said Thursday that 1,300 people were killed in the attacks. Israel’s retaliation in Gaza has since killed 1,799 Palestinians as of Friday, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

Israel has given 1.1 million people in northern Gaza 24 hours to evacuate to the southern part of the Strip ahead of the anticipated Israeli ground offensive. The United Nations said the request would be impossible without having “devastating humanitarian consequences.”

The IDF hasn’t sent ground troops into Gaza since 2014 — but it has been training its soldiers at a ghost town called the Urban Warfare Training Center.

Soldiers call it “Mini Gaza.”

The Urban Warfare Training Center is located in southern Israel on the Zeelim army base.
A view of the IDF Urban Warfare Training Center, designed as a mock Palestinian village, at the Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Jan. 4, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

It was built in 2005 for $45 million, according to the Associated Press.
Israeli soldier carry ammunition next to a graffiti featuring the Palestinian flag, during an urban warfare exercise at an army training facility at the Zeelim army base, southern Israel, May 25, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

The 60-acre facility was built to simulate “an authentic, modern desert city,” the IDF says.
Israeli soldiers take positions during a training session simulating urban warfare at the Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Jan. 4, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

It includes more than 600 deserted buildings, some of which are eight stories high, and winding, narrow alleyways.
Israeli soldiers participate in a training session simulating urban warfare at the Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Jan. 4, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

Structures in the facility vary from large apartment complexes to schools, shacks, marketplaces, mosques, and public buildings.
Israeli soldiers carry supplies at the end of an urban warfare exercise session at an army training facility at the Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Feb. 10, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

The facility is meant to mimic urban environments like those in Gaza, the West Bank, and southern Lebanon.
Israeli soldiers rest next to a mural depicting the late Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, during an urban warfare exercise at an army training facility, in Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Jan. 4, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

Israeli soldiers carry out combat exercises down the narrow streets.
An Israeli soldier pretending to be dead Palestinian militant lies on the ground during a training session simulating urban warfare at the Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Jan. 4, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

Concrete walls in the facility are covered with messages like “Free Gaza.”
An Israeli soldier reads from a book next to graffiti featuring the Palestinian flag, during an urban warfare exercise in an army training facility at the Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Nov. 9, 2021.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

The IDF has an official graffiti artist who put up the murals, including of Palestinian fighters who have died, AP reported.
Israeli soldiers rest next to a faded posters slain Palestinian fighters, during an urban warfare exercise at an army training facility, in Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Jan. 4, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

The Muslim call to prayer is even broadcast in the facility, according to AP.
Israeli soldiers climb on a wall as they conduct a mock assault during an urban warfare exercise at an army training facility, at the Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Jan. 24, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

The IDF says one of the priorities of the training exercises is to minimize civilian harm.
Israeli soldiers aim their weapons toward their colleague dressed as a Palestinian militant, while he exits from a fake tunnel, during training session simulating urban fighting at the Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Jan. 4, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

Some Israeli soldiers will pretend to be militants during the drills.
An Israeli soldier dressed as a Palestinian militant, poses for a photo during training session simulating urban warfare at the Zeelim army base, southern Israel Jan. 4, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

Troops from ally nations, including the US and countries in Europe, have also trained at the facility.
Israeli soldiers buying cold drinks during an urban warfare exercise at an army training facility at the Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Jan. 4, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

The area is large enough for exercises that involve 2,000 soldiers.
Israeli soldiers climb on a wall as they conduct a mock assault during an urban warfare exercise at an army training facility, in Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Jan. 24, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

The facility was used as a set for the Israeli show Fauda, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Israeli soldiers rest in a damaged car, during an urban warfare exercise at an army training facility at the Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Jan. 4, 2022.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

When not in use for training, the mock city sits empty, turning into a ghost town in the desert.
A graffiti shows a figure of a militant at the IDF Urban Warfare Training Center, designed as a mock Palestinian village at the Zeelim army base, southern Israel, Nov. 9, 2021.

Oded Balilty/Associated Press

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