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October 16, 2016 4:31 pm

Commander of Special IDF Commando/Engineering Unit Describes ‘Precision’ Warfare Against Terrorists, Warns Enemy What to Expect in Next Confrontation With Israel

avatar by Ruthie Blum

Yahalom fighters. Photo: YouTube/Screenshot.

Yahalom fighters. Photo: YouTube/Screenshot.

In an interview with the Hebrew press on Sunday, the commander of a special commando unit of the IDF Engineering Corps described the changes that have been made in the Israeli army since Operation Protective Edge two years ago, to tackle new and developing threats.

Col. Yaron (last name withheld), who leads Yahalom, told Walla News that it became clear to the top brass after the war that the IDF will encounter such threats in the next confrontation with Hamas in Gaza or with Hezbollah in Lebanon. He said that one of the military’s dramatic decisions was to double Yahalom’s force from 400 to 900 combat soldiers with expertise in complex engineering missions. These involve maneuvering difficult above-ground and underground terrain, including under tricky weather conditions.

Yaron talked about the significance of what Walla called a “revolutionary” reorganization in the IDF, and explained what the enemy can expect in its next assault on the Jewish state. He spoke about the incredible precision that proper engineering enables, giving as an example the ability to target a terrorist in a house or building by pinpointing his whereabouts and hitting only that spot with an explosive, causing minimal harm to the surroundings.

Such operations, he said, “are genuinely surgical.”

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One of the new units formed within Yahalom – Sayfan — specializes in unconventional weapons and focuses on the Syrian border. The chemical threat to Israel may have been reduced, but it still exists, Yaron said. “The soldiers in Sayfan are trained to uncover and identify chemical weaponry; to mark the area where it is found; to assess risk; and to neutralize the material,” he explained.

Another specialized unit – Samur – has been defined as the “spearhead” of tunnel combat. Yet another is responsible for the development of operational technology.

All of the units that make up Yahalom have to work as a team, said Yaron. “They train together and serve together – and when they complete their military service, they do reserve duty together,” he said.

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