Soldiers operating in the Wadi Ara region (archive)
Soldiers operating in the Wadi Ara region (archive)Kobi Gideon/Flash90

In light of the ongoing security situation, Israel Police and the IDF will be holding a broad-ranging exercise this week, Israel Hayom reports.

The exercise will simulate a missile attack on Israel, with rockets fired from both Lebanon and Gaza, alongside an escalation of violence in Judea and Samaria and further deteriorating into violence within the "Green Line" with confrontations with Arabs in mixed cities such as Lod, Ramla, Haifa, and Jerusalem, as well as smaller communities such as Sakhnin, Nazareth, Umm el-Fahm, and Bedouin settlements in the Negev. For the first time in such an exercise, Road 65 will be closed to enable troop movement.

Since the start of Ramadan almost a month ago, six Border Police battalions have been recruited by Israel Police; now, the government has ordered two more battalions to be added to those six.

In advance of this week's exercise, a senior police official announced that, "We are now at an intermediate-to-high state of readiness, with extra focus on internal security and disturbances within our borders, including preparedness for every eventuality and external threat. Our accumulated experience along with the lessons we have learned from Operation Guardian of the Walls have prompted us to develop new models, including information sensors that the IDF and Shabak have installed in order to avoid being precipitated into an unexpected situation."

Last year, Israel Police created a new command center for each region numbering around 500 trained police officers. Soldiers have been trained in the use of sponge bullets. The exercise will also include use of drones that drop substances used for crowd dispersal, to be used if officers find themselves unable to gain control over riots; lookout posts; and the opening of emergency storehouses where reserve officers will be supplied with equipment.

According to the same senior officer, "This time, we won't need to turn to the IDF for rifles. We now have the supplies to equip every single officer we recruit." He added that the reserves now being recruited "will effectively double the strength of our forces."

Police and the IDF will also practice escorting troop convoys. "There will be maps of the routes and we will learn how to secure all emergency services, with forces prepared to respond to all incidents. There won't be any cases of vehicle movement that endangers troops. Police will be taking auxiliary positions with regard to the IDF," he added.

The exercise will combine Operation Secure Route for the eradication of crime in Arab localities, with police sending enhanced forces to fight crime and violence in Arab neighborhoods. Police officials noted that one scenario that will be emphasized is linked to the concern that weapons used on a regular "daily" basis by Arabs in mixed and Arab localities will be transferred to the hands of terrorists for attacks.

Police are conducting ongoing operations to round up illegal weapons and ammunition from Arabs, and so far can claim to have seized 73 stun grenades, 64 guns, 20 Airsoft guns, 42 rifles, 24 Carl Gustav rifles, 18 fireworks stores, 4 shells, 12 explosive devices, and one explosives laboratory. Thousands of bullets, cartridges, bullet-proof vests, night-vision goggles, and other items have also been confiscated.

"The majority of the Arab population doesn't want criminals living next door. Most Arabs don't want terrorists operating nearby," the senior officer noted. "All the weapons we seize could have been used by the next terrorist, which is why we are investing tremendous efforts in rounding up illegal weapons from Arab neighborhoods. To us it makes no difference which criminal element has the guns and the bullets, as our main concern is preventing them from selling them to terrorist elements."