Use of aerial and naval attacks and moving foot soldiers into Gaza off main roads and on a moonless night were factors that helped keep IDF casualties to near zero in Operation Cast Lead against terrorists on Gaza. Robots also may have been used to foil Hamas and allied gunmen.
The campaign began three weeks ago Saturday night, on the eve of the new moon of the Hebrew month of Tevet. The nighttime march, without any light from the moon, lessened the chances that Hamas could use its anti-tank missiles against combat units, as Hizbullah succeeded in doing in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
However, the use of aerial and naval forces was Israel's main advantage. They attacked most of the terrorist targets and provided cover for ground forces, who lost five comrades to enemy fire, while five others died from friendly fire.
Army commanders, learning from the mistakes in the war against Hizbullah, avoided sending foot soldiers into heavily populated areas, despite media reports to the contrary.
One of the best tactics of the IDF was not to issue too many reports to the media on tactical maneuvers, a senior reserve officer, with long and personal experience in commando operations, told Israel National News.
"Reports of heavy fighting in heavily populated areas were mainly the fruit of media imagination," he said. "One of the reasons that there were few casualties was the tactic of keeping the ground soldier from penetrating deep into Gaza. The media reports were exaggerated."
The IDF also may have used robots to foil Hamas and allied terrorists, according to Reuters, which reported that Arabs found a mannequin dressed in IDF clothing and rigged with wires. An IDF commando unit officer told the news agency that the object may have been a robot used to fool Hamas fighters into opening fire, allowing the IDF to identify and hit them.