Israel Rushes Preparations for War Flare-ups from Lebanon or Gaza
The Israel Defense Forces recently completed a military exercise on the island of Cyprus, according to a rare disclosure by the IDF. It took place in the Trodos Mountains where the terrain resembles parts of Lebanon.
Taking part were some 500 soldiers of the IDF Commando Brigade, including the Egoz Unit (which specializes in operating on rough terrain, field craft, camouflage, and counter-guerrilla warfare); teams of dog handling soldiers; combat engineers; and 200 Air Force personnel.
C-130J Super Hercules aircraft flew in from the Nevatim Air Base to join up with Black Hawk helicopters.
The soldiers practiced incursions into mountain regions covered with trees and dense vegetation, as well as urban warfare tactics, capturing villages, roads and bridges and the sources of rocket fire, as well as tunnel warfare.
The Israeli units were joined in the exercise by 100 fighters from the special forces of the Cypriot National Guard.
The war game was obviously staged in areas of Cyprus, whose topographical and climate features approximate closely to the mountain regions of Lebanon and Syria. The tunnel warfare drills developed tactics for seizing the hidden tunnels the pro-Iranian Hizballah has been digging under the Lebanese-Israeli border.
In addition to the Cypriot venue, the IDF has also been staging exercises in combat against the Syrian army and Hizballah in the United States, Greece and the Black Sea, where they operate out of air bases in Romania.
In Greece, the war games conducted jointly with the local air force focused on practicing long-range missions and developed capabilities for facing the Russian-made S-300 air defense batteries fielded by Syria and Iran.
Six months ago, the elite Maglan Unit of the Commando Brigade carried out a smaller training exercise on the Greek island of Crete.
Limited by the narrow scope of Israeli air space, air force pilots are able to practice long-range missions by flying both ways to and from Greece and Romania.
Israel is also busy fortifying its border defenses with additional walls – one enclosing southern Gaza Strip and the other along the Lebanese border.
The “slurry pit” method is being used to build strong walls with foundations deep enough to impede the secret tunnels sunk by terrorist organizations for cross-border covert penetration. This advanced engineering project entails digging trenches down to depths that are classified by the IDF, filling them with slurry (heavy muddy liquid) which is later displaced by concrete. This method, used widely in the construction of mining shafts and tunnels, strengthens and stabilizes the pits’ linings against water seepage that would otherwise weaken the walls’ foundations.
To cut down on construction time and costs, factories have been set up in northern and southern Israel to keep the wall builders supplied with the necessary materials on tap on the spot. The tender put out for contractors left out such classified specifications as the length of the walls, their exact location and the depth of their foundations, although it was open to outside bids, including firms from Turkey and China.