IDF completes large-scale West Bank drill

Thousands of troops, reservists and civilian bodies took part in week-long drill simulating escalation of violence

IDF troops participate in a large-scale West Bank drill (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF troops participate in a large-scale West Bank drill
Thousands of soldiers and reserve forces have completed a large-scale drill simulating an escalation of violence in the West Bank.
The week-long drill, which the military has been preparing for since February, took place across the entire West Bank. It focused on various scenarios the IDF could face should violence break out.
“We drilled on everything that we could imagine in terms of violent uprisings, should it happen, even the most extreme,” the commander of the drill, Col. (res.) Guy Ashuri, told The Jerusalem Post during a break from the drill. “We wanted the division and units to be ready and prepared.”
Soldiers confronted scenarios such as terrorist attacks inside Jewish settlements, attacks on Israeli vehicles, shooting attacks and stone-throwing. They practiced defensive and offensive maneuvering to prevent possible attacks and how to respond to actual attacks.
The soldiers and reservists were from the Judea and Samaria Division, the Paratroopers and special forces from the Commando Brigade’s Egoz Unit, which specializes in guerrilla warfare and reconnaissance.
Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) officers, police and Magen David Adom rescue workers and firefighters also participated.
“I’ve done dozens of drills, but in this drill there was a level of cooperation that I never saw before,” Ashuri said. “I really saw the synergy.”
During the drill, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi sprang a surprise exercise that simulated the military’s response to a kidnapping. It examined the division’s ability to handle such a scenario and the cooperation between the military and other bodies.
“We wanted the division to be ready to go from a routine to an emergency situation and how to identify when such a change happens and to be able to respond to several scenarios taking place simultaneously,” Ashuri said.
Though talk of annexation of parts of the West Bank and Jordan Valley has faded, especially following the normalization of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, the IDF remains on high alert for violence and terrorist attacks.
Most attacks in recent weeks have been thwarted without casualties. However, two weeks ago, Rabbi Shai Ohayon, a 39-year-old father of four, was stabbed to death by Khalil Doikat in Petah Tikva.
Doikat, 46, who had an Israeli work permit, was arrested by police shortly afterward with a bloodstained knife that apparently was used in the attack. He was handed over to the Shin Bet.
“In the West Bank, like on many fronts, the pressure is there,” Ashuri said. “You don’t need a lot for it to explode, and we are ready for any escalation. There is a high level of readiness. We are prepared for all scenarios.”