IDF drill prepares for large scale unrest in West Bank, collapse of security coordination with PA

Amid daily security incidents, Menashe territorial brigade tests responses to potential large-scale attacks.

March 1, 2015 13:58
1 minute read.
IDF soldiers

IDF soldeirs take part in a night-time drill [file]. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Facing daily security incidents and clashes, the Menashe Brigade, responsible for covering the Palestinian cities of Jenin and Tulkarm, recently completed a large-scale drill to test responses to the most extreme potential terrorist attacks in the West Bank.

Lt.-Col. Kfir Edri, deputy commander of the brigade, told The Jerusalem Post last week that the brigade’s exercise lasted two full weeks, drilling both conscripts and reserves.

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The scenarios that informed the drills included the eruption of large-scale unrest with many injuries and a collapse of security coordination with the Palestinian Authority. A second scenario centered around a mock terrorist infiltration of a settlement, requiring rapid intervention by reservist forces to take control of the area and isolate the terrorists.

Aside from the exercises, Edri said the brigade is engaged in daily and nightly security missions, including intelligence- based arrests of Palestinian security suspects on a nightly basis.

“Looking at Judea and Samaria, we have to recognize that the scenarios [we drilled] are not unrealistic. They represent the nature of things here. There are riots every day in our sector. There are bomb attacks and shootings.

“This obligates us to prepare for this reality. The training is part of our preparations,” he said.

One of six West Bank territorial brigades, the Menashe Brigade guards the northernmost sectors of Samaria, protecting 117 km. of the security fence and encompassing 90 Palestinian villages and 27 Israeli settlements.

Its daily security operations keep terrorists out of Israeli cities like Afula, Hadera, Netanya and Beit She’an.

“The first part of the drill focused on battalions that carry out daily security missions. The second week involved reserve battalions, and looked at extreme scenarios as well as the fixed responses to them,” Edri said. “It enabled the forces to improve operationally in their responses to emergencies.”

One of the goals of the drill was to enhance the brigade’s command and control capabilities, and create a common language among the forces that serve in it, such as paratroopers, Border Police, Beduin trackers and IDF bomb squads.

On the last night, units combined real nighttime counterterrorism arrests of wanted suspects with the exercises, he added.

“To sum up this drill, I’d say we completed it with much success,” Edri said. “I do think we have to prepare as a military,” the officer concluded.

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