IDF launches surprise military drill in northern Israel
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IDF launches surprise military drill in northern Israel

Planes, vehicles and troops set to maneuver in Golan Heights, Jordan Valley in general preparedness exercise

Soldiers during a surprise drill in the Golan Heights in September 2012. (photo credit: Shay Wagner/IDF/Flash90)
Soldiers during a surprise drill in the Golan Heights in September 2012. (photo credit: Shay Wagner/IDF/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces on Monday launched a surprise military exercise in northern Israel, set to continue throughout the coming week.

Large numbers of aircraft, vehicles and IDF troops were set to take part in the drill, which is designed to test the preparedness of the Northern Command, the IDF Spokesperson said in a statement.

Residents in the Golan Regional Council and in the Jordan Valley Regional Council were warned to expect increased movement of emergency forces and military vehicles throughout the week.

The drill is geared toward “maintaining competency and vigilance of the troops,” the statement said.

Since the beginning of 2016, Israel has conducted a series of military drills designed to test the preparedness of the army and emergency response teams.

On Saturday, the IDF announced a two-day general drill in and around the northern city of Safed.

Amid fast-rising tensions along the border with the Gaza Strip, Israel earlier in the week carried out its largest civilian drill near the Palestinian enclave since its 2014 war with Hamas, according to a report on Channel 2.

An IDF exercise to practice dealing with an Islamic State terror attack to hijack a boat carrying Israeli civilians in the Red Sea. (IDF spokesperson)
An IDF exercise to practice dealing with an Islamic State terror attack to hijack a boat carrying Israeli civilians in the Red Sea. (IDF spokesperson)

Medics, the fire department and civilian response teams simulated a Hamas incursion into Israeli territory, including an attack on an Israeli kibbutz near the border and the taking of hostages by terrorists. The exercise, which was held at Kibbutz Erez, included troops overpowering the terrorists in the community’s dining hall.

Last month, the IDF held its first-ever major naval exercise training to counter increasing threats from Islamic State jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula. Members of the navy’s elite Flotilla 13 commando unit practiced responding to several scenarios including the firing of anti-tank missiles and rockets from the Egyptian side of the border and terrorists hijacking a boat with Israeli civilians on board.

In February, Israel and the United States held their biennial ballistic missile defense exercise, named Juniper Cobra. According to the IDF, the drill was designed to prepare American and Israeli soldiers for the threat of a missile attack, and was geared towards increasing cooperation between the two armies.

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