In response to the escalation of Arab violence in Judea and Samaria, the commander of the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division and the commander of the Menashe Brigade recently underwent training to operate an air force assault command center that monitors and controls armed drones, Kan 11 News reported Tuesday night. Following the training, they will be able to supervise the operation of attack drones in cases of operational need. The operation will be run under the division commander.
The tensions in Judea and Samaria in recent days continue and Israeli security forces are still hunting the terrorist who carried out the shooting attack on a bus on Route 578 in the Jordan Valley and escaped. On Tuesday night, the IDF destroyed the home of the terrorist Ra’ad Hazem who shot dead three Israeli men in a pub on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv last April. There was an exchange of fire between the security forces and Arab terrorists; one terrorist was killed and 16 wounded.
IDF Chief of Staff Major General Aviv Kochavi said on Tuesday that the IDF is prepared to continue Operation Breakwater in Judea and Samaria. “Our mission is to thwart terrorism and for that, we will reach every city, neighborhood, house, or basement. Our activity will continue and we are prepared to increase it according to need,” he stated.
The IDF has been operating armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over the Gaza Strip for twenty years now and has reached phenomenal accuracy rates. During Operation Breaking Dawn against the Islamic Jihad in Gaza on August 5-7, UAVs participated in bombings from the air to kill terrorist squads and destroy rocket launchers with minimum collateral damage. According to the IDF, the UAVs reached a success rate of better than 90% in hitting their targets without harming civilians.
At the peak of Operation Breaking Dawn, there were more than 50 armed drones belonging to the air forces and the artillery corps in the skies of the Gaza Strip, whose operators tried to hunt down Jihad firing squads and were constantly available to elements from the Gaza Division and the Southern Command. The drone operators and their supervising officers relied on a stream of intelligence and radar and were able to hit their targets the moment they raised their heads.
“Within seconds of the request, the formation was ready to activate and attack from the air,” a UAV command center officer told Ynet in August, adding, “The hit percentage exceeded 90% in surgical strikes that landed centimeters from the target.”
According to the IDF, throughout the recent Gaza operation there was no serious attempt to shoot down the unmanned aircraft, which gave them a clear advantage over manned aircraft since the UAVs have a small signature, can change altitudes swiftly and quietly, offer an endless availability, and, most important: present no risk of pilot injury.
We may soon see the same UAVs hunting terrorist squads in the Palestinian Authority even as they come out from hiding. And remember: our side has night vision.