Under permanent threat from terrorists in Gaza, a Heavy Mechanical Vehicles
Company, belonging to the Engineering Corps, completed on Wednesday an intensive
three-day drill in southern Israel, simulating a range of hostile fire and
Capt. Rotem Levi, commander of the company, told The
that the threats he and his soldiers practiced responding to, at
the Tze’elim training base, were very similar to the frequent incidents the unit
encounters along the Gaza frontier.
There has been an overall rise in
border incidents over the course of the past year, he added.
under the southern Gaza territorial division, the Company, established in 2003,
is equipped with a range of heavy armored vehicles, such as D-9 armored
bulldozers, armored personnel carriers, and drilling equipment.
members join infantry and armored units, and act as trailblazers for military
forces, clearing paths in areas with bombs in them, exposing and destroying
attack tunnels, and joining daily border patrols.
“We practiced all of
the potential scenarios. We understand that if we come under attack, it
will be a complex event involving multiple, combined threats, rather than one
pinpoint attack,” Levi said. “We could be dealing with an explosives incident
while coming under full attack from projectiles and gunfire. We could face an
The Company can call for cover fire from
supporting Armored Corps and infantry units, but is also able to direct its own
firepower, in the form of MAG machine guns, mounted on its vehicles.
necessary, we have to know how to exit our vehicles and storm enemy positions
that are threatening us on foot,” Levi added.
“We combined our
capabilities with other military units in this training, but this also happens
daily, in security missions,” he said.
During the exercise, the unit
practiced clearing paths, neutralizing bombs and destroying structures used by
terrorists. “Our heavily armed vehicles enable us to get to challenging
territory and ease the entrance of other forces,” Levi said.
there are dangers from 360 degrees. One of our tasks is to search for clues on
the ground, to direct us to threats, like tunnels.
To get to know the
territory well, and see what has changed recently. We practiced getting to these
challenges, and exposing them,” he added, “this is what we do every day.”
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