Operation “Warm Winter” was launched in response to rocket barrage fired from the Gaza strip by Hamas. On Feb. 27th 2008, it was the first time that “Grad” rockets were fired, reaching the city of Ashkelon. The purpose of the operation was to disrupt terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza strip, and to halt or at least decrease the rocket fire.
The “First Combat Helicopter” squadron was deployed on Saturday Morning supported by ground infantry forces. In the evening, the helicopters attacked rocket factories. On Sunday the helicopters targeted a senior Hamas official’s office, and another rocket factory. Both targets were destroyed.
Combat Jets attacked several “Qassam” rocket launch pads, command centers, rocket warehouses and other terrorist infrastructure that is always situated in densely populated areas, and surrounded by innocent civilians.
“We feel the burden of grave responsibility” says Lt. Yaniv, a planning officer at the “Knights of the North” squadron. Because of the urban density, the slightest mistake we make can cause casualties among innocent civilians. We spend a great deal of effort in meticulous planning and execution of our missions. We do everything we can to avoid civilian casualties, while destroying terrorist targets and militants”.
Combat helicopters of various squadrons played an important role during the operation, destroying terrorist vehicles, launch pads, rocket factories and storage sites, providing support to ground infantry forces, and destroying the office of Ismail Haniyeh, the “Hamas” leader.
The IDF suffered two casualties during the anti-terror operation in Gaza: Staff Sergeants Doron Asulin, and Eran Dan-Gur.