IDF Special Forces Take Part in Surprise Drill Simulating Terror Attacks

Drill simulates the army's response to a widespread terrorist attack and hostage situation at several locations in Israel.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The Israel Defense Forces special operations units on Sunday took part in a surprise drill that simulated the army's response to a widespread terrorist attack and hostage situation at several locations in Israel.

Fighters from the army's elite Sayaret Matkal unit, the Israel Police's Yamam counterterrorism unit and other security forces were called to the site of the mock event in the early morning hours. There, they were informed about a widespread, lethal incident at a hotel and about another later incident at a communal dining hall elsewhere in the country.

As part of the drill in the northern area, armed terrorists infiltrated into Israeli territory, under the cover of rocket fire, and hijacked a bus; in another location, they penetrated a military outpost and abducted a soldier.

At a kibbutz near the Sea of Galilee, a mock “killing spree” required the swift arrival of IDF and police units trained in hostage negotiation and rescue.

A number of other mock “terror attacks” were simulated in the Southern Command's sphere, with dozens of participants pretending to be the "attackers" and dozens more pretending to be the “hostages.”

After the special ops units arrived on site, negotiators from the General Staff tried to appeal to the “hostage-takers,” but in each of the cases, according to the scenario prepared in advance by the IDF, forceful intervention was required by the counterterror units.

The results of the drill were good but “there is a lot of work to be done, mainly in the small details,” said an officer from the Operations Directorate who spoke with reporters on Sunday.

The exercise involved all the members of the General Staff. IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz attended the events simulated in the Northern Command.

According to the Operations Directorate officer, they were pleasantly surprised by the cooperation among the units and the various organizations. Thousands of soldiers took part in the exercise – special operations fighters, infantry fighters, medical units and more.

The officer said the exercise simulated the possibility of global jihad terrorists entering Israeli territory via the border with Syria or the western border and carrying out attacks in populated areas inside Israel.

“We understand that global jihad is organizing outside our borders, including in places we have difficulty reaching,” said the officer. He said the drill took into account the possibility that hostage-takers could arrive from outside Israel’s borders, “in light of the changing threats along our borders.”

Israeli soldiers training along the border with Syria.Credit: Gil Cohen-Magen

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