(JNS.org) The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday held a wide-ranging surprise exercise across Judea and Samaria that involved air, ground, and intelligence forces, as well as several special forces’ units. The drill has been described as the largest exercise the IDF has held in the area in three years.
Citing a military source, Israel Hayom reported that the unannounced drill was ordered by new IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot in an effort to gauge military readiness for a possible security escalation in the area. Brig. Gen. Nadav Padan, commander of the IDF’s 162nd Division, headed the exercise, during which thousands of regular soldiers and some 13,000 reservists were mobilized.
Given the Palestinian Authority’s dire economic situation, the deadlocked Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and the overall instability in the Middle East, the IDF is said to be preparing for various scenarios in Judea and Samaria. Accordingly, the exercise simulated soldiers’ abductions, riots, and clashes between civilians and security forces.
A senior IDF officer said the exercise was set up as soon as Eizenkot took office and did not represent any change in the military’s alert level in the area.