Givati reconnaissance battalion completes drill simulating war with Hezbollah.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)
With tensions high along Israel’s northern border, hundreds of soldiers from the IDF’s Givati reconnaissance battalion are completing a drill simulating war with Hezbollah.
Some 200 to 300 troops drilled along the Lebanese border “against a challenging enemy which has been getting stronger over the past few years,” Maj. Alon Peiser, deputy commander of Givati’s Gadsar reconnaissance battalion, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
The drill, which ends on Thursday, is part of a four-month-long drill carried out by the Givati infantry brigade in northern Israel. It saw troops train on a variety of scenarios alongside tanks, Namer heavy armored vehicles and helicopters from the Israel Air Force.
The IDF has significantly stepped up the scope and frequency of its combat training to improve its readiness. As part of the IDF’s five-year Gideon plan, the military has returned to 17 weeks of consecutive training, an increase from the 13 weeks soldiers trained for the past 15 years.
Last week, the troops belonging to the 450th battalion from the IDF’s school for Infantry Corps Professions and Squad Commanders (also known as Bislamach), completed a large scale drill in northern Israel, also simulating war against Hezbollah.
“Every drill is different, it is more challenging every time, be it physical or regarding the small details,” Peiser said, adding that “every drill is carried out as per how the enemy changes.”
“In war, our troops will march toward the enemy and when they meet him, they will kill him. We will defeat the enemy in the minimum amount of time and with the minimum amount of collateral damage,” he said.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34-day war in 2006, and in recent months tensions have once again risen along the northern border
In December, Israel launched Operation Northern Shield to detect and neutralize cross-border attack tunnels dug by the Iranian-backed Shi’ite organization. Israel believes that the tunnels would have been used by the Hezbollah’s elite Radwan unit to infiltrate into Israel in an attempt to take control of several communities and kill as many civilians and troops as possible.
Israeli officials have also repeatedly voiced concerns over Iran’s presence in Syria and the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah from Tehran to Lebanon via Syria, stressing that both are redlines for the Jewish state. To prevent Iran’s military entrenchment in the war-torn country, Israel has carried out numerous airstrikes over the past five years.
On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused Israel of “being the main opponent to peace in the region,” during a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moallem, who was in Tehran to discuss ongoing coordination and consultation between Syria and Iran.
Moallem met earlier with Iran’s Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Rear Admiral, Ali Shamkhani, who warned that Israel would “receive a decisive response” if it were to continue to carry out airstrikes in Syria.
But for Peiser, his troops are ready.
“I hope, for the sake of Israeli civilians, I hope there won’t be a war,” Peiser said when asked if he was expecting a war with Hezbollah in the near future. But, he warned, “the Lebanese shouldn’t try us. But if they try something, they will pay a price.”
“We are ready for war now, we were ready yesterday. We are prepared,” Peiser told the Post. “You can count on us in the next war.”
completing a drill simulating war with Hezbollah
tensions have once again risen along the northern border
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