IDF soldiers' drill (illustrative)
IDF soldiers' drill (illustrative)Israel news photo: Flash 90

IDF soldiers in northern Israel were scrambled without warning early Wednesday for a surprise drill designed to test their “fitness and readiness.”

The troops from the army's Northern and Central Commands gathered on the Golan Heights for the exercise, where they were joined by the Israel Air Force. Other military units were involved as well. A live fire exercise is scheduled for some time in the afternoon.

"The drill is one that is routine, and part of a program of tests and surprise military exercises held throughout the year,” the IDF Spokesperson's Unit explained. "This exercise is being conducted under the command of chief artillery officer Brig.-Gen. Ro'i Riptin.”

Just a week ago, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz joined the head of Northern Command, Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, to supervise a pre-holiday military drill testing the Golani Brigade at the Golan Heights.

Gantz underscored the importance of Israel's being able to “maintain our readiness, because the environment around us is volatile.”

There is increasing concern over the savage civil war being fought between Syrian government troops and the opposition forces just across the border of Israel's Golan Heights. Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards are now deployed in Syria on behalf of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. Israel is also worried over the possibility the country's chemical weaponry may fall into unwanted hands.