IDF training civilian response teams

Move follows fears Hizbullah may try to kill residents, terrorists could infiltrate before army arrives.

Home Front Command soldiers 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski  [file])
Home Front Command soldiers 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Three years after the Second Lebanon War, the army is preparing border communities for a new scenario - an infiltration and ensuing shootout. The IDF has trained civilian rapid-response teams in the communities and provided them with new equipment, including M-16 rifles, bulletproof vests, helmets and communication devices. The teams have undergone special training sessions at the IDF's Elyakim training base in the Lower Galilee, as well as inside the communities themselves. The assessment within the defense establishment is that Hizbullah, if it decides to attack Israel, will not kidnap a soldier as it did on July 12, 2006, when in a cross-border raid it abducted IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, but will instead try to infiltrate border communities with the goal of killing civilians. The motivation for such an attack, defense officials said, could be the February 2008 assassination in Damascus of Hizbullah military chief Imad Mughniyeh, which was attributed to Israel. Hizbullah's frustration at having failed as yet to perpetrate attacks against Israeli targets abroad has led to Israeli concern the group will decide to launch a retaliatory attack against the northern border, which would be operationally easier. A number of towns are located along the Lebanese border, including Yaron, Avivim and Malkiya, which are situated just meters away from the border fence. Despite improvements to the IDF's response time, the concern is that due to the close proximity of these towns to the border, a well-trained team of terrorists would infiltrate them before the army could arrive on the scene.•