Several men with covered faces rappelled down a building, as other soldiers on the ground scanned the area, their firearms at the ready. A loud blast from a grenade shook the vicinity, followed by the sounds of gunfire, as the men, members of the IDF’s elite counterterrorism school, completed their simulation of the storming of a building taken over by terrorists. It was all over in under a minute.
The drill was held by the instructors of the counterterrorism school, who are tasked with providing special training to the IDF’s elite combat units, including the Shaked, Duvdevan and General Staff Reconnaissance (Sayeret Matkal) units.
It was one of a number of displays held last month, hours before the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, at the IDF’s Center for Air Transport and Special Training, near the Tel Nof airbase.
“The units come to us to learn Krav Maga and combat training,” Lt.-Col. Lior Keinan, head of the training school, told The Jerusalem Post last month, during the display. Soldiers also undergo marksmanship courses.
“The instructors study the latest intelligence on threats, to stay in touch with the reality on the ground,” he added.
The instructors also take part in counterterrorism raids themselves in the West Bank on occasion, to ensure that their experience is made up of field experience and not only training.
“Part of maintaining professionalism and credibility is to be connected to what’s happening on the ground,” Keinan said.“Not every unit has to go through our school,” Keinan added. “This training is reserved for the elite units.”
Those who pass through the school are trained to deal with complicated scenarios, such as rescuing hostages from a complex.
Many of the aspects involved in the training cannot be disclosed. “Most of the scenarios involve urban combat, which is very difficult,” Keinan said.
The training center also houses the IDF’s Oketz (K-9) unit, which used a training ground to show how its dogs are trained to search for explosives and launch swift attacks on terror suspects, played by trainers wearing protective gear.
Another unit that operates from the center is the Parachuting and Air Lift Unit, which deals with the parachuting of soldiers and their equipment from aircraft.