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IDF Trains for ‘Tunnel Combat’

The IDF is training combat soldiers in underground tunnels to fight terrorists who use tunnels to attack and kidnap soldiers.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/18/2011, 9:16 AM

Terrorist and tunnel
Terrorist and tunnel
Flash 90

The IDF is training combat soldiers in underground tunnels to fight terrorists who use tunnels to attack and kidnap soldiers.

The use of underground tunnels and bunkers by terrorists took a heavy toll in 2006, when Gaza-based terrorists kidnapped Gilad Shalit, who is still in captivity, and Hizbullah terrorists pummeled northern Israel with thousands of rockets and were literally under the feet of surprised IDF soldiers in the Second Lebanon War.

Both terrorist organizations use hundreds of tunnels for smuggling weapons, drugs and terrorists, but the IDF now is catching up with the tactic.

Infantry reconnaissance battalions and Special Forces units have begun training in underground combat, according to the IDF.

A recent exercise by soldiers in the Nahal unit took place in tunnels located underneath the Urban Warfare Training Facility in the Central Command's Lachish Training Base, located east of Jerusalem.

During the underground training, "terrorists" can be hiding in every dark room or hall and surprise the disoriented soldiers. Using head lamps, IDF commanders follow the soldiers intently in the training sessions, with occasional stops for instructions.

"The IDF is constantly improving and elite units like the Nahal Reconnaissance Battalion give solutions no matter where the enemy is," explained the Company Commander, Maj. A.

"We've encountered underground combat in Operation Cast Lead," he added. "The training exercise prepares the soldiers for any necessary scenario."