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Israel to buy 200 armored vehicles for civilian security squads

The security vehicles are intended for use in the Gaza border area, towns near Lebanon, and Judea and Samaria.

Israeli soldiers and armored vehicles are seen as smoke rises in the background near Kibbutz Sufa on the Gaza border, July 17, 2014. Photo by Gili Yaari/Flash90.
Israeli soldiers and armored vehicles are seen as smoke rises in the background near Kibbutz Sufa on the Gaza border, July 17, 2014. Photo by Gili Yaari/Flash90.

The Israeli Defense Ministry has approved the purchase of more than 200 armored vehicles for civilian security squads in parts of the country facing increased security risk, including Judea and Samaria, the Gaza envelope and the Lebanon border.

The purchase is estimated to be worth around 150 million shekels ($41 million), the ministry announced on Tuesday.

The project is “intended to strengthen the resilience of the localities and the standby units” and provide a “quick response during a security incident,” the announcement added.

Standby squads are made up of locals, usually former military, who train together and serve as first-response teams, holding down the fort until regular troops arrive.

At least two kibbutzim in Israel’s western Negev were saved during Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre because of such squads.

“Ordering the security vehicles is another step in the large-scale procurement we are undertaking for the standby squads, which also includes weapons and protective equipment,” said Avi Mashiach, the ministry’s deputy director for ground forces acquisitions.

The vehicles will be purchased from two Israeli companies and will be delivered to local security teams in the “coming months.”

Mashiach noted that the procurement deal favored local companies, “with the aim of ensuring manufacturing independence in vital areas and strengthening the Israeli economy.”

Last year, the Biden administration blocked a shipment of some 27,000 U.S.-made rifles for the Israel Police out of fear they could make their way into the hands of “extremist Israeli settlers” in Judea and Samaria.

Washington reportedly told the Israeli government in December that it wouldn’t transfer the rifles until it had received sufficient assurances that the guns would only be used by police.

Between Oct. 7 and Jan. 15 alone, the Hatzalah Judea and Samaria rescue group recorded more than 2,600 terrorist attacks against Israelis in the area, including 760 cases of rock-throwing, 551 fire bombings, 12 attempted or successful stabbings and nine vehicular assaults.

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