IDF using new intelligence system to decrease surprise attacks on troops

Over 1,000 Palestinians arrested by IDF troops in the West Bank in the first half of 2019.

June 3, 2019 12:21
3 minute read.
Undercover Israeli security personnel arrest a Palestinian protester in the West Bank

Undercover Israeli security personnel arrest a Palestinian protester in the West Bank. (photo credit: GORAN TOMASEVIC/REUTERS)


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The IDF has begun to use a new system to alert troops to suspicious movements by Palestinians in the West Bank, in an attempt to decrease the chance of troops being caught by surprise.

The system includes analytics and visual intelligence, which are all connected to one main system in an operations room. It was established as part of the project the military hopes will assist in foiling attacks in real time, and prevent manhunts of terrorists who get away following an attack.

The military has understood that many soldiers are slow to respond to surprise attacks, and that troops must decrease the time it takes them to act. Therefore, in the coming months troops stationed in the West Bank will receive smartwatches that will alert them to approaching threats in an attempt to decrease surprise attacks.

The Judea and Samaria division of the IDF has also formulated a new operational concept to define the range of operational actions and norms aimed at increasing its ability to deal with attacks.

The concept, which relates to all stages of troop training, aims to ensure that every combat soldier is able to make correct decisions under pressure and in a short period of time, such as overpowering an attacker at a maximum speed.

The IDF has also begun a new combat training program at the Lachish Training Center that includes programs that are in accordance with the sector and operational missions, as well as familiarity with the regional history and the operational challenges.

The military has also improved training infrastructure for troops, adding in programs based on virtual reality that allows soldiers to experience real-world incidents including stabbing and shooting attacks, as well as Krav Maga and shooting courses.

With terrorist attacks continuing in the West Bank, the IDF arrested more than a thousand Palestinians this year, and confiscated 270 illegal weapons.

Security forces, including the IDF, police and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), carry out near-nightly raids in the West Bank to arrest Palestinians suspected of violence against Israelis.

The numbers released by the military, while slightly lower than the previous year of 3,000 arrests, is significantly lower than numbers released in December by the Palestine Prisoners Center, which said that 5,700 Palestinians were arrested by troops in 2018, including 980 children.

An April report by the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Department of Public Diplomacy and Policy stated that 1,600 Palestinians, including 230 children and 40 women, had been arrested since the start of 2019.

Troops also confiscated NIS 500,000 in terrorist funds since the beginning of the year, compared with the NIS 2m. seized in 2018.

Security forces have also increased their efforts to shut down underground weapons workshops and confiscate arms, greatly reducing the number of illegal explosive devices and other weapons that could end up in the hands of potential attackers.

According to figures released by the military, the weapons seized by the IDF is an increase from the 400 weapons taken by troops in 2018. In the two previous years, 445 illegal weapons were seized, a significant increase from the 170 illegal weapons confiscated in 2015.

Security forces believe that most of the shooting attacks that have occurred in the West Bank and inside Israel were carried out with weapons manufactured in the West Bank, most commonly the Karl Gustav recoilless rifle.

The crackdown on illegal weapons in the West Bank has led to an increase of prices of the arms, with an M-16 costing NIS 60,000 and a Karl Gustav costing between NIS 3,000 and NIS 4,000.

While there were several deadly shooting attacks over the past year that claimed the lives of 16 Israeli civilians and soldiers, the IDF was able to thwart other deadly attacks, some of which could have dragged Israel into a large-scale military operation.

Thousands of other small-scale attacks were also thwarted by troops due to intelligence gathering, including an increased monitoring of social media activity, and arresting individuals who express a desire to set out on attacks, or attempt to inspire others to do so on social networks like Facebook.

Since October 2015, Palestinian youth have stabbed, run over and shot IDF soldiers and civilians, including some tourists, in a wave of violence in the West Bank and Israel. The violence has since decreased since its peak in the winter of 2016, when there were almost daily attacks.

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