Members of the Kfir Infantry Brigade on combat training maneuvers in the Golan Heights recently.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The IDF’s Kfir Infantry Brigade is returning to Judea and Samaria for daily security missions, after spending 12 weeks on the Golan Heights in intensive combat training.
The brigade was formed a decade ago for the purpose of creating a West Bank specialty security force, but last year, the IDF changed Kfir’s focus, from counter-terrorism and security in the Central Command, to being able to take part in full-scale combat in Lebanon, Syria, or Gaza.
As part of those changes, Kfir came under the command of the 340th Light Infantry Division [dubbed the Idan Formation], and its battalions were split up, leaving Judea and Samaria for missions on the borders with Lebanon, Syria, and the Sinai Peninsula.
Now, the brigade is returning to the very arena that it was originally designed to secure, but it does so as a changed force. Kfir has been transformed into an all-purpose, multi-arena brigade, one that can go into action against Hezbollah or Hamas, if called upon to do so.
In recent weeks, the brigade trained for the scenario of intense combat in the West Bank against terrorist organizations.
The exercise began at the squad level, and then grew in size, eventually becoming a battalion-wide, and then division- wide drill. The emphasis of the drill was on fighting in a built-up area.
The Armored and Combat Engineering Corps, as well as the air force, took part, and new concepts and weapons were put to the test. Scenarios included the kidnap of soldiers, and the blowing up of resupply vehicles as they made their way to assist units.
Lt. Nir Dekel, a platoon commander in Givati’s Duchifat [Hoopoe bird] Battalion, described the exercise as historic for the brigade. “Kfir’s battalions [simulated] fighting together in a brigade formation,” he said, noting that it was the first time this has happened.
“The scenario we are drilling here is similar to [Operation] Defensive Shield – intense combat in Judea and Samaria. This scenario is a challenge from our perspective, no less than combat in Lebanon.”
Fighting in built-up areas, and dealing with a civilian population located in close proximity to central Israeli cities, are two key challenges, he added.