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Shut to the enemy: Joining the IDF on a special operation near Lebanon

Shut to the enemy: Joining the IDF on a special operation near Lebanon

It is tranquil dark and cool exterior, actual sooner than dawn. The force does some final drills on the commands it has worked on for weeks and steps exterior the gate separating Israel from Lebanon.

Walking silently in two straight traces, wearing fleshy combat gear and equipped with all the necessary devices, the infantrymen all at once kneel when their commander presents the agreed-upon trace, indicating that they want to stop.

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After making certain that the coast is clear, the force keeps tantalizing toward the gate.

The infantrymen are walking on the road along a heavy concrete wall located on the top of the Sulam-Tzor (Tyre) mountain, which is the geographic barrier between the international locations, stretching from Rosh Hanikra in the west to Hanita and Adamit in the east.

“The mountain is what we call a(n) [IDF] General Staff essential asset,” said Capt. Gal Tabac, a company commander in the 601st battalion who leads this operation. “Without the fog, we can be able to stare Haifa from right here. It means that if the enemy manages to salvage right here with anti-tank missiles or mortars, he can shoot anything he wants from right here to Haifa.”

CAPT. GAL TABAC (left) and the writer in the enclave. (Photo credit: IDF's Spokesperson's Unit)CAPT. GAL TABAC (left) and the author in the enclave. (Photo credit score: IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit)

The force that Tabac is leading consists of a maintaining squad, a patrolling squad, a physician and senior medic, and an engineering crew.

Given this rare situation, the force is being backed by tanks and missile batteries, who point their cannons at places that enemy forces would maybe be hiding, according to prior intelligence. It is also being coated by advanced observation devices that constantly scan the area for a potential enemy.

“We’ve trained for a variety of scenarios, and the tanks and gunners are ready to fire in less than a minute if needed,” Tabac said.

Reaching the gate, Tabac sends the scout and the Oketz Canine handler to make certain that no IED is attached. After receiving the okay and checking one last time with the fire and observation devices, the force starts stepping into the unknown.

 AN OKETZ dog checks that no IEDs were put on the gate before the force walks into the enclave. (Photo credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit) AN OKETZ dog tests that no IEDs have been place on the gate sooner than the force walks into the enclave. (Photo credit score: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

“Here’s the second when the adrenaline rises,” Tabac said. “Here’s a irregular activity. There is nothing separating you from Lebanon and you want to stay as vigilant as you can.

“We don’t know what’s waiting for us on the other facet. The enemy may very successfully be hiding in the bushes,” he said.

THE COMPANY’S day-to-day responsibility is to shield the border. Their outpost is located on the mountain, and correct thru the day they carry out routine patrols with armored vehicles, man fortified watch-towers and carry out other casual IDF border-maintaining missions.

Nevertheless this time, they have been tasked to accomplish something totally different – the company was asked to shield a crew of professionals that would map an exposed enclave ahead of an engineering activity internal it.

The enclave is a share of territory between the concrete border that was constructed after the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and the Blue Line – the official border that was location after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000. It is one of several enclaves along the border that is sovereign Israeli territory nonetheless is exterior the safety fence. These enclaves have been generally created in places where it was sophisticated to construct a wall that may very successfully be defended, or was hard to construct from an engineering standpoint.

This enclave is considered a large one; most of it’s coated with flora, including excessive bushes, trees and thorns – and geographically it’s terribly steep. The professional engineers are tasked with mapping the area ahead of bulldozing it and clearing away the dense flora covering it.

The rationale at the back of it’s that such an enclave – which is broad launch and accessible to Lebanon – may very successfully be a supreme location for Hezbollah warring parties to operate. They may employ the thick bushes to mask in and carry out attacks against Israeli civilians and infantrymen. Here’s now not an imaginary scenario; the abduction of IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in 2006 that sparked the Second Lebanon War, was carried out from such an enclave, near the area of Zar’it and Shetula. In a video that was released by Hezbollah in 2012, it can be seen how multiple Hezbollah forces attack the two infantrymen’ Hummer jeep and how they easily crossed the fence to carry out their mission.

Since then, the IDF changed its attitude toward these enclaves, and it keeps operating internal them, each to wait on them safe – and to “apply sovereignty.”

“That’s one of our main goals,” Tabac said. “Legally, right here’s our territory, regardless of it being at the back of the wall. We want to apply our sovereignty up until the Blue Line, and point to them that we’re right here.

“We mustn’t leave our territory to anyone else,” he added. “Here in the Mideast, when it comes to territory, in case you’re now not on it, you’re shedding it.”

The IDF Intelligence Directorate believes that the Lebanese front is the most sensitive among all of the latest threats to Israel. It said in its latest annual assessment that Hezbollah remains to be in search of to avenge the death of an operative who was killed in an attack attributed to the Israel Air Force in Damascus last July.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech in late August, “Israel needs to understand… If they cancel one of ours, we’ll cancel one of yours.” That came a month after the organization accused Israel of killing one of its participants, Ali Kamel Mohsen Jawad, near Damascus.

Hezbollah sees the situation as an account that needs to be settled and according to Nasrallah’s remarks, it’s believed that it goes to strive to cancel an Israeli soldier in explain to maintain the “equation.”

BEING INSIDE the enclave feels treasure venturing into the desolate tract – a no-man’s-land where colourful plant life manage to grow undisturbed. Inner the large green area are some black spots that seem burnt.

WALKING IN the enclave, with the border community of Shlomi seen in the background. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)WALKING IN the enclave, with the border neighborhood of Shlomi seen in the background. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

“Here’s a result of illumination bombs that have been fired right here when there was a suspect in the area,” Tabac explained.

The entrance to the enclave is located at the top of the hill and the exit is a few kilometers down at the bottom. To salvage to it, the force will have to scamper down the slippery and bushy slope.

The fog dissipates and the border neighborhood of Shlomi all at once appears at the back of the wall at the bottom of the hill. This survey underscores the importance of the operation – if the area remained unrazed, a Hezbollah warrior may easily shoot rockets or missiles from the bushes at the small town.

The top part of the enclave was already exposed and razed by heavy machinery, and after the maintaining squad took its positions and pointed its rifles toward the bushes, Tabac and the battalion commander, Lt.-Col. Avshalom Dadon went to examine the situation and stare what was accomplished in the enclave so far.

In the back of the concrete wall, the actual Blue Line is marked with United Nations intellectual blue barrels scattered correct thru the discipline. The intellectual blue is seen from far away, and the trace on the barrels says in each Arabic and English in all caps: “BLUE LINE: LINE OF WITHDRAWAL 2000 – DO NOT TRESPASS.”

All thru the complete operation, Dadon makes certain that no one goes beyond the barrels, even by mistake.

“Doing so is a violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty,” he said. “We are right here to make certain that they don’t violate our sovereignty, so we must always tranquil appreciate the guidelines, and they are expected to act the same.”

The operation is carried out phase after phase, grade by grade. Each squad carries a intellectual pink flag, so spy contact can be maintained even internal the thick bushes. The scout and the dog clear the path, the maintaining squad takes positions, and the patrolling squad accompany the engineers and the battalion commander as they examine the ground.

“We are right here to measure the incline of the slope, the salvage of the ground, altitude and terrain, so subsequent time we enter, we can advance with heavy machineries such as D-9s and excavators and raze the ground,” Dadon said.

“Our subsequent entrance will take several weeks, thru which we’re going to be able to turn the sharp slope into large, razed terraces,” he said.

GOING DOWN the slope presents one a feeling how combat in Lebanon would examine treasure in a future war.

The IDF dubs this terrain “roof bushes,” which essentially means that it covers you fully, and you really feel as in case you have a roof over your head. The forces want to pave their way internal the bushes and the thorns, while the maintaining force constantly needs to stay on alert and make certain that that no one is rising from at the back of the blue barrels.

At some point, the observations explain Tabac that they space suspicious motion on the Lebanese facet.

The force gets into positions, and the battalion’s armored car patrol, which operates on the Israeli facet of the fence, tells by Tabac to scramble to the point, and stare if they can space enemy troops while the observation forces scan the area.

In these stressful moments, Tabac makes radio contact with the totally different squads and ensures that the artillery and the tanks are ready and in position to lay down fire, if needed. After several stressful minutes, Tabac is told that everything is okay, and that his troops can wait on tantalizing. Then again, he’s told he is being watched by the Lebanese Army intelligence’s pickup vehicles. The IDF claims that these vehicles are weak by Hezbollah operatives who take a seat in civilian clothes facet-by-facet with Lebanese infantrymen, regardless of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which bans any Hezbollah presence in Southern Lebanon.

On the one hand, Tabac’s troops scamper on heightened alert in case a confrontation erupts. On the other hand, the observation by the Lebanese helps the force achieve its goal to assert dominance and point to the other facet that we are right here.

 SOLDIERS WALK near the concrete wall, inside the enclave. (Photo credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit) SOLDIERS WALK near the concrete wall, internal the enclave. (Photo credit score: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

This new information doesn’t stop the force from winding up the task and after reaching the bottom of the valley, they terrifying the concrete wall and are safely back internal the less exposed part of Israel. After ending, the company takes a neighborhood photo – a memento from a irregular activity.

“We achieved our goals on this operation,” Dadon said, actual sooner than the force starts walking back to its borderline outpost. “We studied the terrain so that subsequent time we can advance with the heavy machines. We also learned the importance of understanding the area – it’s exceedingly thick, and razing it goes to encourage us monitor every small motion internal it. There have been some cases thru which only after occasions took place did we understand that adverse forces came very shut [to the border] internal the bushes.

“Here’s the first step that will eventually lead to better control of the border area – and greater safety for the residents,” he concluded. 

Shut to the enemy: Joining the IDF on a special operation near Lebanon