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IDF launches surprise reservist drill amid month-long exercise series in north

Sudden call-up meant to test readiness of reserve troops in event of outbreak of war on the Lebanese border against Hezbollah terror group

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Reservist soldiers take part in an IDF drill on March 21, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative: Reservist soldiers take part in an IDF drill on March 21, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces launched a surprise readiness exercise on Monday morning, calling up reserve units as part a month-long series of drills in the Northern Command.

The drill simulated a sudden outbreak of war on the Lebanese border.

“During the exercise, calls were made and text messages were sent to reserve troops, some of whom were asked to report to their units, in accordance with the orders they received,” the military said.

The exercise, which was ordered by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, was meant to test how well and how quickly the reservist units responded to a sudden conflict.

The call-up came as part of a month-long series of exercises that began Sunday that are meant to improve the military’s preparedness for a war against the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group.

The drills — known collectively as “Hewn Stone,” or in Hebrew, “Even Gazit” — will “simulate multi-front, intensive and drawn-out combat, with conscripted and reservist troops taking part, from all headquarters of the Northern Command, in collaboration with the General Staff directorates, the Ground Forces, Air Force, and Navy,” the IDF said in a statement.

All levels of the IDF Northern Command were due to participate in the exercises, up to entire divisions. “The goal of the exercises is improving the defensive and offensive capabilities of the IDF against a variety of scenarios,” the military said.

The Hewn Stone exercise was held alongside a major nationwide home front exercise, which also launched Sunday, that is meant to simulate a war against Hezbollah, but from the standpoint of emergency services, rather than combat troops.

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

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