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