Counterterror forces
Counterterror forcesIsrael Police

In the wake of the murderous attack yesterday at Eli Junction, reports began circulating that the terrorist had been eliminated by Task Force Tequila - an elite undercover unit of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).

Official sources rarely give any confirmation as to the unit's abilities. Ynet reports that, according to Shin Bet director Ronen Bar, the unit is considered the last resort to stop a terrorist who is already on the way to carry out an attack. Bar stated that Tequila was called out fourteen times over the course of 2022.

In the hunt for the terrorist from Eli Junction, a security camera near the scene of the elimination shows Palestinian Arab cars suddenly maneuver to box in the taxi in which the terrorist had fled and disgorge a number of masked Israeli troops who begin firing into the taxi.

Tequila was reportedly called in to stop three right-wing protestors who posted pictures of themselves with firearms, claiming they were on their way to a left-wing demonstration. A suspected attack originating Kafr Qassem in the past year likewise saw Tequila called into action, with social media footage showing apparently ordinary civilian cars abruptly activating emergency lights and sirens on their way into the city. During the 2022 shooting attack in Tel Aviv, Tequila was credited with locating and eliminating the terrorist near a Jaffa mosque.

Walla reports that the unit was founded during the Second Intifada, due to the need for an immediate response to the numerous suicide bombings that were the hallmark of the period. Minister Avi Dichter, who was at the time the head of the ISA, understood the need for immediate response to such incidents and joined forces with the Israel Police to create Tequilla.

According to former senior officials in the Israel Police, Tequila cooperates extensively with the Israel Police, and in particular the YAMAM, an elite undercover counterterrorism unit in Israel's Border Police. The officials add that Tequila's main advantage is their constant state of deployment, embedded deep within Palestinian Arab territory, and the speed and precision of the intelligence they receive from the Shin Bet's command centers in real time. These allow Tequila to locate and neutralize terrorists as they make their way to an attack, or to join the pursuit of a fleeing terrorist with the most recent operational intelligence.

The name Tequila was allegedly chosen as a tongue-in-cheek reference for quick shots and rapid, significant effect.