Soldiers pretending to be terrorists armed with rockets set off fireworks in the middle of forests in the Golan Heights last week, during a drill held by the Kfir infantry brigade to practice locating and destroying rocket-launching sites.

The large-scale exercise is a part of the military’s ongoing preparations for the possibility of conflict on the northern border.

Lt.-Col. Dotan Robner, commander of Shimshon Battalion, told The Jerusalem Post that the drill involved all four infantry battalions of his Kfir Brigade, as well as the Israel Air Force, intelligence units, reconnaissance and the Engineering Corps.

“These are all the forces we’d work with on the day we’d get an order,” Robner said.

“We maneuvered a northern landscape, which was difficult to move around in. The aim was to search for rocket locations, and neutralize them, as we expect to do in northern arenas,” he added. “We’ll have to locate rocket launchers, some of them underground, others hidden in between the trees.”

Soldiers moved through dense forests during the week-long drill.

The infantry forces worked with other IDF components to practice directing fire at enemy targets together.

“We have to think like the enemy and imagine where they’d place the rockets. This is also based on intelligence,” Robner added.

It was the first time the Shimshon Battalion held a drill in the Golan since moving to the northern border from the West Bank last month, during Operation Pillar of Defense.

“It’s different to what we’re used to,” Robner said. “This is new to us. But I believe a force that arrives at a new area is more aware, and is not hindered by old techniques or is concerned by how everyone else operates. The fact that they’re curious means that new ideas can arise.”

Last summer, the battalion, working with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), uncovered a major Hamas terrorist cell and seized a cache of powerful firearms.

The Shimshon Battalion, formed in 2000, is named after an older undercover unit. It became part of the Kfir Brigade and was first assigned to the Gaza Strip, prior to the 2005 disengagement.

Last month, the IDF’s 7th Armored Brigade held a major war drill in the Golan Heights to ensure its readiness for any unexpected developments from the North – especially Syria.

Tanks practiced live-fire scenarios in the Golan, the Galilee, the Jordan Valley and Tze’elim base in the South, to prepare the brigade for developments on all fronts, brigade commander Col. Oded Basyuk said.

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