IDF Prepares for Rocket Attacks in Unprecedented Exercise
In a large-scale IDF exercise, soldiers prepared for the harsh aftermath of a rocket attack. The drill featured a massive disaster site, training soldiers to rescue civilians buried beneath piles of concrete.
The IDF Home Front Command held a large-scale exercise last week, simulating a rocket attack in Karnei Shomron - a community in Israel’s Judea and Samaria region. The drill was unprecedented in scope, preparing IDF forces to handle the aftermath of a severe strike.
Israel’s civilians live under the constant threat of rocket attacks. Hamas terrorists in Gaza are known to fire rockets on communities in Israel’s southern region. In addition, Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon hold more than 60,000 rockets and missiles capable of striking anywhere in Israel.
In preparation for last week’s exercise, the IDF built a massive disaster site, placing dummies beneath piles of debris to represent trapped civilians. The disaster site was designed to make the exercise highly realistic, modeling the implications of a real-life rocket attack.
According to Col. (res.) Danny Twiser, an IDF commander who oversaw the exercise, the disaster site was a major step forward in the training of IDF rescuers. “It is usually difficult for us to practice scenarios like this, because we need to create a disaster site,” explained Col. (res.) Twiser. “This time, we were able to offer the rescue battalion sites in which they could train to strengthen their skills.”
The exercise facilitated the IDF's cooperation with a range of civilian entities. “The goal was to express the military’s work inside the region and the cooperation with emergency services and local authorities,” Col. (res.) Twiser explained. Forces of the IDF, the Israel Police, Magen David Adom and the fire department all participated in the drill.
To enhance communication, the exercise tested the IDF’s new Orange Flame system. The advanced system allows for a direct line of communication between the IDF and Israel’s emergency services. “One of our outstanding achievements in the exercise was the integration of local forces in the fabric of the forces working in the Judea and Samaria region,” Col. Twiser said. “The district was created three and a half years ago, and I see this day as a point of excellence in terms of the region’s preparedness.”
The exercise also prepared IDF forces to carry out rescue efforts in Palestinian communities. “It is a subject that sits on our doorstep and we don’t exempt ourselves from looking after Palestinian villages,” Col. (res.) Twiser emphasized. “It is impossible to enter a Palestinian village with the same ease with which we enter an Israeli community, so we developed exercises that will enable us to assist in an emergency. The drills include cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships.”
In addition to rocket attacks, the exercise prepared forces to deal with earthquakes, terrorist bombings and other types of emergencies. “We built a very high sense of preparedness. The exercise brought up a unique range of challenges, and the cooperation between civilian officials was very high,” Col. (res.) Twiser concluded. “Today, the region is highly prepared for a number of possible incidents.”