IDF Calls Up Thousands of Reservists for Battle Drill on Lebanon Front

The drill involves call-up and battle preparation within 48 hours, and will include the use of live fire in practice; the drill began on Sunday and is expected to last until Thursday, concluding with summaries and debriefings within the reservists’ division.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Thousands of Israel Defense Forces reservists were given emergency special orders this week to report for duty, as part of a surprise simulation drill on the Lebanese front.

Some 2,000 reservists were ordered to report to emergency storage units for the drill, being conducted by the Pillar of Fire division. The reservists were ordered to report to emergency storage units, from where they would proceed with the task of preparing an operational plan for battle along the Lebanese border, all within 48 hours.

One of the brigades taking part in the drill is expected to embark on a surprise simulation on Tuesday. A reservist battalion will be integrated with the brigade, which will carry out the simulation using live rounds.

“This simulation imagines a sudden escalation requiring reservists to be called up, prepare battle plans, and embark on a maneuver within 48 hours,” a senior commanding officer in the Northern Command explained to military correspondents. “The scenario includes a development of deterioration along the Lebanese front, and of maneuvering there.”

The drill began on Monday and is expected to last until Thursday, concluding with summaries and debriefings within the reservists’ division.

“We haven’t had such a drill involving these components - the emergency call-up of thousands of reservists and a reservist battalion maneuvering with live rounds - for several years," the commanding officer said. "The current reality and threats to the State of Israel require us to be suitably prepared, and part of this is to maintain a high degree of vigilance.”

The senior officer added that the "current reality on the Syrian front is liable to surprise us, meaning that we have to take that into account as well," but said the present drill is focusing only on the Lebanese front and the IDF’s entrance into Lebanon.

"At the same time, we’re similarly ready for other fronts," said the officer, including "the western front, the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, - they’re identical.”

The IDF spokesperson said that the drill was part of the annual training plan and coordinated in advance. Nevertheless, many panicked after receiving the surprise automated call-up.

The IDF officer who debriefed military correspondents about the drill said he did not believe the drill caused heightened alert on the other side of the border, adding: “This is just another part of the army’s training regimen in general, and that of the Northern Command in particular.”

The IDF announced the drill on Tuesday morning, warning that increased traffic of army forces would be felt in the north, especially in Afula and at the Golani Junction over the course of the night, and that sirens and explosions would be heard.

An IDF soldier during a military drill in the Golan Heights, Sept. 19, 2012.Credit: IDF Spokesman

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