Israel's new Eitan APC spotted in combat against Hamas in Gaza. The IDF prematurely rushed the high-tech armor into service.

  • The IDF said Israel's new Eitan APC performed its first combat missions in Gaza battling Hamas.

  • The Eitan carries 12 soldiers, including three crew, and uses Israel's latest defense technology.

  • A report said the new armored vehicle wasn't scheduled to go into service until next year.

Israel has rushed its new high-tech APC, or armored personnel carriers, into battle against Hamas in the ongoing siege of Gaza months before it was due to become operational.

A photo released by the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, showed the distinctive Eitan armored vehicle taking part in Gaza operations on November 5.

An IDF spokesperson confirmed to Insider that the armored-fighting vehicles are in action on the ground in Gaza.

Army Technology reported that the IDF developed the Eitan APC, a versatile, wheeled armored personnel carrier designed to replace the aging M113 APCs in service with Israeli forces. Featuring advanced technology from the Merkava tank series and Namer armored vehicles, the Eitan offers high mobility and firepower in various terrains.

An Eitan APC first went into action after the October 7 terrorist attacks on southern Israel by Hamas, according to Walla, an Israeli news outlet.

During the Battle of Zikim, in which Hamas soldiers overran an IDF training base, the IDF called the untested APC into action, helping to wipe out a squad of fighters.

"We reached the area the fastest. This is our first advantage," an Israeli soldier told Walla.

"Then we went to the settlements," the soldier continued. "We ran into terrorist vehicles and didn't feel anything. It's a powerful tool. We broke through gates and fences. Then we helped evacuate the wounded and supply the troops."

An Eitan commander, identified only as Lt. Yotam, told Walla: "The 'Eitan' brings important capabilities such as flexibility, high-level protection and lethality. There is good news for the ground forces in this."

Eitan APC: 'The best and most advanced'

Israel's Eitan APC.
Israel's Eitan APC.Zachi Evenor

"Eitan" is the Hebrew word for "strong."

The 50th Battalion's Sayeret Nahal, a special-forces unit of the Nahal Brigade, was the first unit trained to use the new APC. Soldiers were still getting used to the new weapon as recently as September, a Breaking Defense report said.

Weighing between 30 and 35 tons, the Eitan has a modular design, housing a crew of three, including a driver, a commander, a gunner, and nine soldiers. Its V-shaped hull enhances protection against mines and IEDs, complemented by the Iron Fist active-protection system.

The Iron Fist APS provides 360-degree coverage and handles multiple threats with its electro-optic sensors, radar, and reaction suite.

It is armed with a 30 mm turret, a remote-weapon station with a 0.5-inch heavy machine gun, and a pintle-mounted 7.62 mm machine gun. The Eitan can reach speeds over 56 miles per hour.

Brig. Gen. Guy Paglin, the former head of Israel's Defense Ministry's Armored Vehicles Directorate, told The Times of Israel: "The development of new weapons allows us to replace old and less advanced technologies, thus promising that our soldiers are equipped with the best, most advanced defense equipment for all combat scenarios."

Israel has been carrying out a ground invasion of Gaza and an intense aerial-bombardment campaign following the Hamas attacks on October 7 that killed about 1,200 people, a revised count from the initial estimate of 1,400.

The Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Friday that Israel's campaign has killed over 11,000 people, including over 4,000 children.

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