As the IDF prepares for violent demonstrations it predicts will break out
following the Palestinian’s unilateral declaration of statehood at the United
Nations on September 20, it has developed a new operational doctrine for snipers
using laser designators to ensure accurate hits.
The new doctrine was
developed by the Paratroop Brigade, which was among the forces that stopped
hundreds of people from crossing into Israel from Syria in early June during the
last round of protests there that ended with more than 20 dead, according to the
Syrian press. Israel says the number of dead was significantly lower.
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doctrine includes the use of the Amit targeting system, which was developed by
Elbit Systems and became operational in the IDF following Operation Cast Lead in
the Gaza Strip in 2009.
The Amit weighs less than 2 kg., including an
eight-hour rechargeable battery, and enables an operator to locate targets up to
a kilometer away, under all weather conditions.
Until then, the IDF used
heavier systems that needed to be mounted on a tripod. The new system costs less
than a third of those, and is more mobile.
The IDF tested the Amit’s
thermal-imaging capabilities during Cast Lead, distributing flags coated in a
special chemical, detectable only by the Amit, among units in hopes of avoiding
The Paratroop Brigade came up with the idea to
use the Amit due to the poor visibility it encountered during the protests along
the Syrian border.
“The snipers could not see well and we used the Amit,
which can see in all weather, to put a laser designator on the legs of the
protester and then the sniper shot at the laser,” an IDF Ground Forces Command
officer explained. “Our goal was not to kill people but to shoot at the legs of
the violent protesters who were trying to cross into Israel. This made the
shooting more accurate.”
In addition to instituting the use of the Amit,
the IDF has also decided to procure new non-lethal weapons that will help
disperse large demonstrations and marches that could break out in the West Bank
and along Israel’s borders in the north.
Last month, the IDF decided to
begin distributing throughout the infantry a new receiver for the standard-issue
M-16 semi-automatic rifle that can enable it to shoot a 0.22 mm. round
instead of the usual 5.56 mm. bullet. The smaller rounds are not as lethal when
fired from a distance.
In addition, the IDF has purchased impact rounds
for snipers for use with Remington M-24 7.62 mm. rifles. Impact rounds are
usually made of non-lead materials and do not penetrate the skin but deal a