We need to be scared, says IDF colonel

An IDF colonel has described how he hopes his troops feel fear as they continue to push into Gaza.

“Fear is healthy” Lt-Colonel Amir Ulo said this evening. “It is part of a warrior’s basic skills that helps him prepare, not fear that paralyses.”

Lt-Col Ulo is commander of the Combat Engineer Corps special operations unit Yahalom and his soldiers have been leading the IDF’s combat groups as they take up positions around Gaza.

Speaking to reporters this evening, he said that over thepast four days of the ground offensive, his unit had neutralised “hundreds” of explosive devices and tunnels left behind by the Hamas fighters as they retreated.

“Hamas isn’t really trying to meet us face-on” he said. “We don’t see companies of Hamas advancing towards us.” Instead, the Palestinian organisation has sown the outlying neighbourhoods of Gaza with booby-traps, which according to Ulo, have been designed “to entice our forces in to them in the hope that they can kidnap wounded soldiers and bodies.”

One of his soldiers, Alexander Meshvitzky, was killed on Tuesday when he entered a house as part of a bomb-disposal team that was working with the Golani Brigade and was fired upon from short-range by a Hamas fighter who was lying in wait. Four other soldiers were wounded.

“We are very violent,” Ulo described his unit’s methods, “and use aggressive methods to explode the devices. We use a lot of force, as much as is necessary and shrink from nothing to prevent our forces from getting hurt.”

He said that for the first time, the IDF has used minefield clearing explosives in Gaza, in order to clear routes for the forces entering urban areas

    Last updated: 6:37pm, January 7 2009