Eyeing Hezbollah, navy ups joint training with air force, infantry

Hezbollah planted, detonated two bombs in the Har Dov region along the Lebanese-Israeli border in October, wounding two IDF soldiers.

November 17, 2014 02:55
1 minute read.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters during a rare public appearance in Beirut, November 3. (photo credit: REUTERS)

In light of increased tensions with Hezbollah in Lebanon, the air force, ground forces and navy have increased the number of joint exercises in recent weeks.

The changes have seen a “significant” rise in integrated drills, the IDF said. The drills focus on a range of combat scenarios, including underwater missions, air-based missions and the deployment of infantry units.

Infantry-only combat exercises have also been increased, the IDF said.

The Israel Navy’s northern Security Company, based at Haifa, is taking part in the strenuous combat preparation program.

Its leader, Cmdr. Ronen Hagigi, told the IDF’s official website that drills are focusing on threats in which “the enemy fires missiles, sends fishing vessels, underwater divers, and perhaps sets off a bomb near our vessels.”

This, Hagigi said, is a change from past threats that formed the center of exercises, such as an infiltration into Israeli waters with a jet ski, or a bomb-laden fishing vessel.

In one recent exercise, units deployed live fire, and the air force dispatched a rescue helicopter, which hovered over a Dvora fast patrol boat to hoist up a stretcher.

Lt. Shahar Boim, commander of a security patrol squad, said coordination with other military services has noticeably risen.

“In every operational activity, we are synchronized with the infantry, and we hold an ongoing dialog with them,” he said.

“Battalion commanders from the ground join us for sea journeys, and they in turn brief us on their work,” Boim added.

Last week, Israel Aerospace Industries announced a successful trial of its Barak 8 air and missile defense system – the next generation of defenses currently being installed on Israel Navy ships to protect them from a variety of threats, including the Yakhont surface-to-sea guided missiles in the possession of Hezbollah.

In October, Hezbollah planted and detonated two bombs in the Har Dov region along the Lebanese-Israeli border, wounding two IDF soldiers.

The wounded soldiers belonged to the Combat Engineering Corps bomb squad unit, which was accompanying Golani Brigade soldiers on patrol in the area.

Both bombs were planted on the Israeli side of the border.

The IDF responded by shelling two Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon.

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