Commando units of the military are currently in a 10-day-long drill to improve their preparedness for a two-front war, the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit announced Saturday night.The cross-country exercise will see troops from the Maglan, Egoz and Duvdevan units training in a variety of scenarios, including fighting on two different fronts – in the Gaza Strip against Hamas and in the north of the country against Hezbollah.The exercise includes broad cooperation with the Israel Air Force, including the launching of strikes in close proximity to troops. During the exercise, troops also practiced the transition between fronts and combat zones, as well as fighting in both open and urban areas.“This exercise reflects the advanced capabilities and the integration of special abilities of the units in simple and complex scenarios,” read the statement released by the military, explaining that the drill is the sixth in a series of brigade exercises that have recently been held to improve the fitness and readiness of combat units.Chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who visited the exercise during the past week, spoke with the unit commanders and troops about the work undertaken by the commando brigade since its formation three years ago, such as the improved cooperation between the units.
The Duvdevan Unit was established in 1986 and is known for carrying out a range of high-risk urban warfare operations including arrests, raids, targeted killings and kidnappings.The IDF’s elite Maglan Reconnaissance Unit was established in the 1980s and is tasked with carrying out operations far inside enemy lines, while Egoz is the brigade’s anti-guerilla warfare unit. Lastly, established in 2010, is the youngest of the four elite commando units and specializes in operating in desert environments.Eisenkot brought the four elite units together under one roof when he formed the Oz Brigade in December 2015 under the Central Command’s 98th Division, with the goal of being an accessible, independent and integrated force which operates with increased cooperation and greater efficiency. Initially headed by Col. David Zini, the brigade was then commanded by Col. Avi Blot until he left in July to become Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s military secretary, being replaced by Col. Kobi Heller.“We are in the midst of a major exercise involving all the commanders and fighters,” Heller was quoted by the military as saying during Eisenkot’s visit, explaining that the brigade is one of the IDF’s “new operational tools” which will “enable the provision of operational solutions for a variety of challenges and threats.“The commanders and fighters of the platoon stood on tasks that were practiced – both simple and complex – and showed a high level of professionalism,” he continued, adding that “this exercise proves that the commando brigade is ready and prepared for every scenario it will be required to deal with, in every arena and against any enemy.”Two weeks ago, an elite IDF officer was killed after a commando force was exposed in the southern Gaza City of Khan Yunis during an operation allegedly attempting to plant listening devices against senior Hamas militants.The incident, in which seven Hamas militants were killed, including a senior brigade commander, initiated close to two days of fierce rocket fire from the coastal enclave against southern Israel and retaliatory IAF air strikes.
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