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June 1, 2022 3:24 pm

Inside the ‘Lotar,’ the Israeli Army’s Counterterrorism Unit

avatar by i24 News

An IDF manhunt for two Palestinian suspects in a deadly terror stabbing in Elad, in central Israel. Photo: Israel Defense Forces

i24 News – The Israeli army’s counterterrorism unit ‘Lotar’ is meant to tackle security challenges on Israel’s home front, focusing on vulnerable communities that sit on the Jewish state’s borders.

Israel’s reality in which civilians live on its borders means enemies may not just be encountered on the battlefield, but sometimes within those communities.

As part of a wartime scenario by Israel’s army, ‘Lotar’ recently conducted a special exercise in Kibbutz Hanita, which sits on the northern border with Lebanon.

“The vast majority of the exercises take place in civilian environments which demand highly-trained forces, with precision and quickness,” Maj. Shai Shachar, ‘Lotar’ operations officer, told i24 News.

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From the scenario, Israel’s army predicted thousands of dead in Lebanon and 300 in Israel in a future war with Hezbollah, Lebanon’s Shia Islamist militant group that is in a decades-long conflict with Israel.

Shachar and his soldiers know that just across Israel’s northern border fence sits Hezbollah, and tunnels crossing from Lebanon into Israeli territory serve as a reminder that escalation could be on the horizon.

“It’s crucial to train close to the real threat. We constantly keep evolving and adapting our techniques to win any battle against any enemy we might fight,” Shachar continued.

“We never underestimate our enemies and their abilities, and we won’t hesitate to do whatever it takes to provide security to our civilians.”

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