The Border Police's elite counter-terrorism unit was honored in a special ceremony at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem on Thursday night.

The ceremony comes a month after the unit arrested Hamas commander Hussam Qawasme, who organized the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June, according the Shin Bet.

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The ceremony, held to mark 40 years since the unit's founding, was attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Erlich, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharnovitch and Israel Police chief Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino.

The Counter-Terrorism Unit was founded in 1974 following the massacre of 27 Israelis - most of them school children - in Ma'alot in a raid by the DFLP terror group, which was launched from Lebanon.

The unit's members specialize in counter-terrorism raids and arrests of wanted suspects in complex and highly dangerous circumstances. Most of its activities are classified, and it took part in hundreds of operations in the past year alone.

The unit has lost 13 members to hostile action since its founding.

Counter-terrorism units from around the world routinely visit it for joint training sessions.

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