They’re called Shayetet 13 — Flotilla 13 in Hebrew — and they’re one of the most epic fighting forces there is. The unit of special operations commandos specializes in hostage rescue, and during a recent drill, their maneuvers showed exactly why the unit is one of the best.
According to Defense News, the maneuver took place as part of an exercise called “Sea Minister,” in which a mock hostage situation was resolved by Flotilla 13 after negotiations had failed. As you’re about to see, these guys don’t mess around.
The Times of Israel reported that the drills began on Monday. An Israeli officer, interviewed by Defense News on condition of anonymity, described the situation. First, a mock distress call from the ship was sent out, which led to the Israeli navy trying to ascertain the vessel’s identity and where it was located.
Negotiations then began between the military and the “terrorists,” who were found to have taken 10 “hostages.”
“We knew that we were dealing with the seizure of a civilian ship; an act of terror … but we needed to understand first what were their intentions. Did they plan a suicide mission or did they have demands?” the officer told Defense News. “Our goal, at the end of the day, was to retake the ship, neutralize the terrorists and release the hostages.”
And that would take surgical precision.
“Tactics determined for the operation included fast drop to the ship’s deck by an Israeli Air Force helicopter while another unit made its way to the ship by sea,” Defense News reported. “At the same time, relevant ‘authorities’ throughout Israel’s defense establishment were apprised of the situation.”
It wasn’t just Flotilla 13 that was involved in the operation, either. Sea Minister featured coordination among Israel’s military forces — although the tactics being practiced aren’t being readily broadcast.
“There’s a blend of capabilities that we don’t tend to share; only with the Americans,” the officer said.
“We practiced full synchronization to determine the right moment and the right conditions for our attack,” he said.
“It’s a complicated operational challenge to have an exercise that just erupts on a normal day. … Until a moment ago, it seemed we were dealing with a civilian ship, and then suddenly it became a national operation, involving the general staff, air force, ground forces, counterterror operators and missile units.”
Complicated and challenging, yes. But they still made it work.
“At the end of the day, the activity was successful,” the officer said. “We managed to overtake the ship and to kill most of the terrorists. One of the hostages was killed, and we had wounded.”
Israel’s head of naval operations, Brig. Gen. Ido Ben-Moshe, said the navy “carried out its mission in an exercise on the maritime borders and will continue to train constantly and prepare its forces in order to ensure the security of the State of Israel.”
Considering Israel is forced to fight for its existence on a daily basis, beset by external enemies and terrorist attacks that can hit without warning, that constant training is key to its survival. And having conservative friendsin the United States can’t hurt the country either.
By the looks of things, it’s definitely secure — and Israel’s enemies ought to be very afraid.
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