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YNET: Caracal fighters training for ISIS incursion
Amid the rising threat of a coordinated ISIS attack from Sinai, the mixed-gender battalion has begun training on complex urban warfare scenarios like those they may face after an ISIS attack.
Yoav Zitun, 09.09.15
Where and when will ISIS in Sinai act against Israel? The Israeli Intelligence community has been struggling to provide a real answer to this question in the last year. The reasons are varied – the ISIS branch operating out of Sinai is quite compartmentalized, and spread throughout a massive desert territory. They have no permanent training base, and use local Bedouin smugglers to operate in the border area. In any case, in order to prepare for the possibility of an attack, the mixed gender Caracal battalion has begun training in urban warfare.
In the face of this reality, military intelligence has been pouring resources into building a better intelligence picture of the organization which calls itself "Ansar Bait al-Maqdis," and although a whole department in the Shin Bet was established for this specific purpose in the wake of the revolution in Egypt, the Southern Command has been preparing for the worst case scenario. These scenarios include ISIS attacks on the Nitzana and Kerem Shalom crossing, or on the Israeli towns and villages near the northern portion of the Israeli/Egyptian border.
Dozens of terrorists are expected to partake in such an attack, which will most likely take place as part of a larger military-like operation, similar to the attacks conducted against Egyptian military outposts in the last year which caused the deaths of dozens of Egyptian police officers and soldiers. The coordinated attacks on the Egyptian army included attempts to capture swaths of urban terrain in northern Sinai.
A tall fence, which spans 220 kilometers on the border, is only expected to delay any strategic attack of the type planned by ISIS, which the Southern Command deems a "military operation" for all intents and purposes. As such, the fence is merely an element of the broader IDF readiness. The IDF's Caracal battalion, which is permanently charged with protecting a large swath of the Egyptian border area, took part in urban warfare training similar to that of other IDF infantry units, for the first time since its establishment.
As such, IDF officials believe that the mixed gender battalion – which includes male and female fighters, can do battle quickly and efficiently inside of Israeli towns or villages in the case of an ISIS incursion. The thinking within the Edom brigade, which is responsible for the border, is that the first responders to arrive on the scene of such an attack, like others which have taken place in recent years, will be the Caracal fighters who are responsible for the regional section, but whose training has never included urban warfare.
The first class of Caracal fighters recently trained on clearing buildings at the Kziot base, while using pyrotechnic effects which simulated live fire and grenades. In addition to the urban warfare training, the fighters practiced camouflage and observation techniques against militant forces across the border.
The command recently set concrete barriers along the border, in an attempt to disrupt anti-tank missile fire. Tank ambushes are also used by the Edom brigade in complex situations.
According to a deputy company commander in the battalion, Lt. Oren Pasan, "The region here is not similar to the West Bank, there you constantly feel the tension, which helps maintain a high level of operational readiness, and as such we hold as many simulated attack exercises as possible."
The Caracal company commander, Captain Chosa Levin, knows that she may be the first person to meet the armed fighters from the most ruthless terror organization on the planet, and will have to lead her troops in order to end any such incursion with a good outcome. "I don’t know when the next attack will happen. We are stronger than our enemy, but we still prepare for the worst case scenario."
Among the battalion's fighters there are several religious female fighters, as well as fighters from Dimona's Israelite community.
The ISIS branch in Sinai, which was established in 2010 by Al Qaeda, and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State last year, is estimated to maintain 2,000-3,000 fighters armed with trucks and advanced weaponry including Kornet anti-tank missiles, and shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles.
In contrast to the Islamic state, which rules over a swath of territory containing seven million people in Iraq and Syria, the Sinai Branch has yet to show signs of territorial aspirations, apparently due to the Egyptian army's firm opposition to the group.
The Sinai branch has only recently carried out its first "ISIS style" execution, when it beheaded a Croatian citizen.
Ironically, it was only after "Ansar Bait al-Maqdis" became an ISIS affiliate, that it began attacking Egyptian army positions, and as a result Israel was temporarily left out of their crosshairs. Before the transition the Al-Qaeda group had conducted several attacks against Israel starting in 2011.
Two months ago, fighters from ISIS in Sinai managed to set an Egyptian combat ship ablaze after striking it with an anti-tank missile two miles from the shore, near Egyptian Rafah.
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
There are several issues brought up by hints in the report:
1. The threat of ISIS from the Sinai. The threat of ISIS infiltration through Syria, and peripherally through Northern Jordan has been mentioned in previous reports. But, what about from Jordan as a whole? That we are all of a sudden BFF's, and giving them helicopters?However, I am not going to mention any of these here. Rather, I would like to focus on the mention of "urban warfare training."
2. The need to improve Egyptian border defense. Now you know one of the reasons we have all of these infiltrators from Africa on our hands.
3. Mixed gender combat units. Of course, there was not any mention of increased, nor the rabbi convicted of I still do not know what, for pointing this and other Torah prohibitions of the IDF out, and blaming then IDF Chief Rabbi Yisra'el Weiss. So much for "democratic freedom of speech." In Israel, it is more like deMOCKratic.
4. Israel's acceptance of the Black Non-Hebrew insurgents as "Israelites." (See #3 above).
|ISIS Flag on Har HaBayith (Temple Mount)|
This begs the following questions...
1. If the threat of an ISIS invasion is so daunting, then why not bring in a battalion with more experience in urban warfare. Internal IDF fighting over territory? Or will other more experienced battalions be needed elsewhere?
2. If the closest urban areas to Israel's Egyptian border are in northern Sinai, does this mean that the Caracal Battalion will be preparing to cross into Egyptian territory?
3. The timing of the Caracal Battalion's "urban warfare training" at the close of the U. S. government's Jade Helm 15 urban exercises in nine of its states is too coincidental. Are we seeing a trend here?
4. Are we really going to believe that the IDF's urban warfare skills will be limited to the Sinai? Don't be surprised if you start hearing about the threat of ISIS in YOUR local urban area, such as Ashqelon, Be'er Sheva, or even Jerusalem.