IDF official: 3 months after Gaza war Hamas still rehabilitating military hierarchy

Drone company commander tells ‘Post’ terror group will need years to rebuild.

November 26, 2014 20:53
2 minute read.

Members of the IDF's Sky Rider Unit in operation

Members of the IDF's Sky Rider Unit in operation


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Three months after the recent Gaza war, Hamas is still assessing the damage it sustained, the commander of a key IDF tactical drone unit told The Jerusalem Post this week.

Capt. Nir (full name withheld), who leads a Sky Rider drone company in the Artillery Corps, said Hamas is still “attempting to rehabilitate its military hierarchy. They are looking around, still trying to figure out what happened.

“We deal with trying to understand the other side from above.

My crews fly drones over Gaza, where they see reconstruction efforts. These won’t be complete in a year, or two years, in light of all the damage sustained,” Nir said.

The drone – the only unmanned aerial platform operated by the ground forces – provides high-quality images from an electro-optic camera, as well as images from a heat-sensitive infrared camera during nighttime intelligence missions.

It is launched from a sling, and, as it gains altitude, quickly becomes inaudible and invisible thanks to its electrical engine and small size. When the time comes to land, the drone reduces its altitude, inflates an air bag, and drops to the ground.

During routine security operations, Sky Rider crews provide real-time aerial visual intelligence.

They support ground forces on all of Israel’s borders, and in the West Bank.

“We work in all of the sectors,” Nir said. On borders where heavily armed terrorist groups are preparing for clashes with Israel, “We assist in the build-up of intelligence, for the next war,” the officer added.

When Gazans try to infiltrate Israel, Sky Rider drones are often scrambled. “The infiltrators are not always terrorists.

Some can be displaced people whose homes have been destroyed [in the recent conflict with Hamas],” Nir said.

“In Judea and Samaria, our activity is very different. We assist in arrests of security suspects, and link up to ground crews who are carrying out arrests,” he added.

“We provide an envelope of visual intelligence to our forces entering Palestinian areas. We know every shrub in these areas.

In my sleep, I can tell you where everything is in a given sector.

Every night, we are active over a different place. We have to study each area from scratch – this is challenging, and requires lots of awareness, energy, and the ability to learn quickly.”

The information the unit sends to commanders lets them know whether the approach of soldiers has awoken a Palestinian village, and “what the enemy is preparing around the corner, and over the next hilltop.

We guard our friends down below, preventing tragedies,” he said.

“What’s nice about the platform is that it is operated by four people, who can deal with almost any weather condition, and take off and land almost anywhere,” Nir said.

During violent disturbances, the intelligence the drone company broadcasts enables the IDF to prevent harm to noncombatants, he said.

When there is a riot in Judea and Samaria, the drone’s sensors help the IDF identify elderly women and small children caught up in incidents, and direct soldiers away from them, toward those engaging in disturbances.

Looking ahead, there are plans to upgrade the platform, in the near and the more distant future, though these plans remain classified. “The upgrades will change things significantly,” Nir said.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

John Bolton met with his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, and Israel’s National Security Advi
June 25, 2019
Bolton on Bahrain: Palestinians shouldn't re-litigate decades of dispute


Cookie Settings