IDF conducts mock warfare against Hezbollah as tensions with Iran rise

As tensions continue to rise with Iran, the Israeli military launched a month-long series of war-simulating exercises on its northern border with Lebanon to improve the readiness of forces against Hezbollah.

Known as “Even Gazit” or “Hewn Stone” it will see all levels of the Northern Command participate in drills aimed at “enhancing the IDF’s defensive and offensive capabilities in a variety of settings,” said the United Nations Spokesperson Unit. IDF in a statement.

During the month, drills and divisional exercises will be carried out that will simulate “multi-front, intensive and prolonged combats, with the participation of conscript troops and reservists, from all the headquarters of the Northern Command, in collaboration with the directorates of the General Staff, the Land Forces , the Air Force and the Navy, ”the statement continued.

Cyber ​​and Spectrum, along with intelligence agencies, will also participate in drills that will also focus on integrating all forces as part of the IDF’s “Victory” concept.

It comes along with a surprise General Staff drill examining the readiness of reserve forces in the Northern Command to respond to an explosive incident along the Lebanese border.

IDF soldiers are seen participating in military exercises in northern Israel to simulate a war with Hezbollah. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON UNIT)

During the exercise, calls will be made and text messages will be sent to reservists, some of whom will be asked to report to their units.

The IDF said both drills were planned in advance as part of the 2021 training program.

The drills are also being carried out in conjunction with a major domestic exercise at the national level that began yesterday also simulating the war against the Shiite terrorist army.

Last week, the 9th Battalion of the 401st Armored Division conducted a two-week drill alongside infantry forces from the Nahal and Givati ​​Brigades in the Jordan Valley.

Like the other two exercises, it also simulated a prolonged combat against Hezbollah in Lebanon and is working on a joint maneuver of forces.

The intensive drill also saw the use of intelligence gathering by ground reconnaissance forces and airborne drones, as well as support from Air Force and Artillery batteries.

“We are not fighting alone, the power of the IDF means bringing intense firepower where it is needed,” said 9th Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel. Eliezer A. “We want firepower to get where we need it before we get there.”

Merkava Mark IVs equipped with the Trophy active protection system used by the battalion, “are always at the front,” he said.

The IDF has not conducted a proper ground maneuver in enemy territory since troops entered Gaza in 2009 during Operation Cast Lead. During Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 and Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the IDF and political leaders chose to rely primarily on the air force, leaving ground troops and armored corps to remain out of the Strip or in the zone. border to neutralize the Hamas tunnels.

But the army knows that a war in the north will not be able to rely solely on the air force and has therefore been conducting intensive drills in the northern part of the country simulating war with Hezbollah.

The 9th Battalion participated in the Second Lebanon War, but Lieutenant Colonel. A said, “a lot of things have changed since the last time we fought in Lebanon.”

“The Ninth Battalion fought in the Battle of Wadi Saluki and suffered heavy casualties,” he said. “The Nahal brigade also fought in Wadi Saluki and the joint cooperation between forces was not as good as it is now to face the enemy.”

The battle of Wadi Saluki was one of the fiercest of the Second Lebanon War during the Litani offensive, just hours before the UN-brokered ceasefire took effect. The 9th Battalion’s tanks crossed the wadi and Nahal’s infantrymen had been deployed on the high ground outside Andouriya and Farun to provide cover for the tanks below facing fierce resistance from Hezbollah.

Twelve IDF soldiers were killed, eight tankers and four infantrymen and some 80 Hezbollah militants were killed before the ceasefire took effect in the early morning of August 14.

Fifteen years later, both sides are learning and improving their battle plans for future engagements.

“I think since that battle, one of the main things we’ve learned is how to fight together,” said the lieutenant colonel. A said. “The enemy is learning, but so are we.”

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