Israeli Air Force Defends Air Strikes Against Terrorists
In a fascinating presentation at the Global Air Power Conference in Singapore in mid-February, Israeli Air Force (IAF) commander Maj. Gen Elyezer Shkedy described the effort to defeat Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorism from the air. Shkedy showed video from various missile attacks, in an attempt to prove that Israel tries hard to avoid civilian casualties during air strikes. He also used surveillance video from IAF unmanned air vehicles to bolster his claim that the terrorists routinely use schools and mosques as cover when launching rocket attacks against Israel. Another surveillance video showed an overhead view of how an IAF F-16 shot down a so-called “suicide” UAV with an 88-pound warhead, launched by Hezbollah against a target in northern Israel. The proportion of Israel’s anti-terrorist strikes that are carried out from the air has risen from 5 percent in 2002 to 45 percent today. According to Shkedy, Israel was killing one civilian for every terrorist in air strikes five years ago, but last year the ratio was 24 terrorists for each civilian.