Reconnaissance soldiers from the the IDF’s Engineering Corps recently completed an intensive series of subterranean warfare drills to prepare them for a potential clash with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah has placed its command and control centers in underground bunkers, and dug a maze of tunnels where commanders, fighters and weaponry can be placed out of sight of the Israel Air Force.

Soldiers from the reconnaissance platoon of the Assaf Engineering Brigade underwent month-long exercises simulating complex terrain fighting, much of which involved dense forests. A week of training was dedicated to combat in tunnels.

“Today during training, we simulated a northern terrain, that included what we might encounter,” Lt. Sagiv Shoker, commander of the Reconnaissance Unit, said.

“In every such drill, we acquire more information, which prepares us for the day we receive the order... the soldiers apply the new information to their next drill or operational mission, so that we are in effect training for combat around the clock, all year,” Shoker added.

The training – held at the Elikim base in the North – focused on how to approach the tunnels quietly and quickly, enter them, and eliminate terrorists, while scanning all underground areas methodically.

It also instilled in the soldiers the need to be on extreme alert. Before embarking on the training, soldiers studied underground combat doctrines and examined information about enemy bunker models.

The Engineering Corps’s Reconnaissance Unit specializes in dealing with mines, explosives, breaking into structures, camouflage, lookouts and urban combat. It recently completed a number of security missions in the Jordan Valley.

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