IDF Coed Commandos Step Up Training for Potential ISIS Attack on Israel From Sinai
The IDF battalion charged with safeguarding Israel’s border with Egypt has been stepping up its preparation for potential ISIS attacks from the Sinai Peninsula, where members of the terrorist organization have been operating, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Sunday.
According to the report, Caracal – the Israeli army’s first completely co-ed combat battalion – is being particularly vigilant, as it is the only force separating innocent civilians in southern Israel from the possible wrath of Islamic State-affiliated groups. In addition, its commander told nrg, the terrorists in question could decide at any minute to shift their attention away from operations against Egypt and turn their sights on the Jewish state.
In an interview with nrg, Caracal commander Lt. Col. Elad Cohen said that he has been devoting the bulk of his men’s and women’s training for such an eventuality. Pointing to the difference between the work of soldiers in the West Bank to that of their counterparts in the south, he said, “The operational challenge and complexity here are far greater. We are situated along the border of a country with which we have peace. In other words, here, unlike in the West Bank, the enemy is not immediately visible. When I look out at the border, I see Egyptian police at the fence, shepherds and farmland. I cannot say exactly what is hiding behind them and who is observing us. It’s not like the guys you see in the videos, with black robes or orange suits.”
His assessments that an attack on Israel “could occur any minute” were echoed by Captain Kasusha Levine, who, until recently, served as the commander of Caracal’s operational company. However, she said, “None of the threats in the Sinai daunt us. We are prepared, and would even be happy, to confront those terrorists. Our soldiers understand the mission and take it seriously.”
As nrg reported, the Egypt-controlled Sinai has become fertile ground for terrorists, smugglers and infiltrators over the past few years. And though much of this activity was reduced after the erection of the border fence in 2012, a new threat subsequently emerged – a branch of ISIS called Wilyat Al-Sinai. In spite of the Egyptian army’s announcement in August that it had killed the group’s leader, Abu Duaa al-Ansari, the ISIS franchise has managed to develop a stronghold in the area and to kill many Egyptian soldiers, whom it considers “infidels.”
On Friday, the commander of the Egyptian unit charged with destroying the terror- and smuggling tunnels extending from Egypt into Hamas-controlled Gaza was assassinated by an ISIS affiliate called the Lewaa Al-Thawra (Revolution Brigade). In retaliation for the targeted killing, the Egyptian air force struck ISIS outposts in the northern Sinai early Sunday morning, reportedly killing some 70 terrorists and wounding dozens more.