Catching them red-handed:
The fighters who document terrorists in real time

Nitzan combat battalion fighters aim camera lens at terrorists bent on conflagration allowing their arrest and trial.

Mordechai Sones,

Documenting ringleaders
Documenting ringleaders
IDF Spokesman

It is no secret that IDF forces carrying out tactical operations in Judea and Samaria are required almost every night to embark on activities deep inside Arab villages to arrest terror operatives.

Many times subjects are regular participants in violent disturbances against IDF forces, throwing rocks and firebombs at fighters and often leading the rioters and the conflict themselves.

The Nitzan combat battalion has special teams whose mission is to reach the most complex area hot spots, document main terror operatives and collect evidence leading to their capture. The same soldiers serve as a connecting thread from the moment the rioter throws a firebomb at our forces to the operational activity where he is detained.

"The soldiers are intel collectors for all intents and purposes, who reach points where there is highest friction with the enemy, sometimes even a few meters away," explains Nitzan Battalion Deputy Company Commander Lieutenant 'A'.

להנמיך את להבות הטרור
צילום: דובר צה"ל

"The goal of each team is to document and close a case on those acting in a way that endangers human life," explains Lieutenant A. "As far as we're concerned, a person leading a disturbance of order and throws rocks and firebombs could also get up tomorrow morning and decide he wants to carry out a bigger attack. So any such activity is equivalent to thwarting an attack."

In order to succeed in their task and document terror operatives in the best possible manner, Lieutenant A notes several necessary steps the teams must carry out: "The fighter must document the perpetrator in the act," he said.

For this purpose, teams deploy in the area. "Some fighters are located deep in the zone of operations to identify top suspects and to photograph their faces closely," emphasizes Lieutenant A, adding that there are other teams of observers located at a more remote point, usually a nearby hill overlooking the disturbance.

"For the soldiers to accomplish the mission, we train them through special exercises, including challenging simulated enemy training that tests their photographic abilities while facing high pressure situations, as they will encounter in real time," emphasizes Lieutenant A.

"The drone revolution that has been taking place in the IDF over the past year has also reached our teams," he says. "A drone can reach hundreds of meters without being seen or heard, and is able to identify and track suspects."

Intel gathering
Flash 90

Lawbreakers recorded in real time

After documentation is achieved, the teams collect the evidence into a dossier containing all the target's actions, including soldier's testimony about what happened on the ground. "The dossiers are passed on to the intelligence agencies, who work to close the circle on the suspect's location, and only then do we send arrest warrants and initiate operational activity to catch them."

Lieutenant A says the data prove the teams' activities and successful arrests of hundreds of rioters over the years significantly improve the ability to cope with terror challenges in Judea and Samaria.

"In the last half-year we discussed arrests of about 130 terror operatives, and in every such summary the number only rises," the company Deputy Commander emphasizes. "We learn from the data on sectors where more targeted disturbances break out simultaneously, so we know how to best invest our resources and photographers," he said.

"The teams are undoubtedly our key in the daily war against terror in Judea and Samaria," he declares. "The math is simple: a fighting force coming to stop a disturbance may succeed in stopping it, but tomorrow it may be renewed. However, as soon as our fighters document the ringleaders and bring about their arrest, there will be no-one left to lead the confrontations, and the participants will understand what happens to those who act against us and prefer not to confront the forces."

"Friction and confrontation spots will always exist," he notes and concludes: "At the end of the day, if we arrest the right people, we'll succeed in striking a significant blow to the terror infrastructure in the region and lower the flames of terrorism."

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