Israeli officials are arming civilian standby security teams in communities around the Gaza Strip as a step toward bringing evacuated residents back to their homes. According to The Times of Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the Defense Ministry said the decision is part of the ‘Return of the Wind’ program and supports their efforts to secure and defend Israel along the border.
The civilian security team will first receive “basic combat equipment,” including weapons, ceramic vests, and helmets. Medical and logistical equipment, and more supplies, will be distributed after, the IDF and Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The move to arm standby security teams along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip comes after Hamas terrorists launched a cold-blooded attack on civilians, killing more than 1,200 people and taking more than 240 hostages to be used as human shields. During the attack, border communities with standby security teams fought back against the terrorists, but the overwhelming number of attackers led some communities to be overtaken by the merciless and blood-thirsty terrorists.
“Following the outbreak of war, the IDF’s Border Defense Corp in conjunction with the army’s Planning Division, the Home Front Command, and other units carried out a major review of security arrangements that included ‘a rethinking of the optimal method of operating the community defense forces at the country’s borders,’” the Times of Israel reports.
In addition to arming the civilian security standby team, the number of IDF soldiers stationed along the border will increase and their training will be expanded “using a unique training model for the needs on the ground.” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant suggested that some residents close to the northern part of the Gaza Strip could possibly be able to return early next year.