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Israel Plans Fight Training Site

February 5, 2002

JERUSALEM (AP) _ The Israeli military plans to build a large base simulating a Palestinian city to train soldiers in urban fighting, a military official said Tuesday.

It will consist of an urban downtown area, a traditional Arab market area with narrow alleys, an urban outskirts area and a rural area like a village, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The troops will train with lasers fitted to their weapons instead of live ammunition. This will make it possible for groups of soldiers to fight each other. Each hit will be registered on a computer and the results of the action will be analyzed at the end of the exercise, the official said.

The base will cost $8.8 million, and construction will begin at the end of the year.

The military already has a training base modeled after a Palestinian village but the military believes there is a need for a larger training center to prepare troops for a wider range of combat scenarios.

In the past 16 months of Israeli-Palestinian fighting, Israeli troops have repeatedly entered Palestinian cities, usually in tanks, and have come under Palestinian fire.

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