Israeli Army Begins Using Armed Drones In West Bank

12:00 Sep 13 2022 Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT) الأراضي الفلسطينية West Bank

Israeli Army Begins Using Armed Drones In West Bank Israeli Army Begins Using Armed Drones In West Bank Israeli Army Begins Using Armed Drones In West Bank
Drone. Published by IMEMC News

An Elbit Hermes 900 is seen flying during Operation Breaking Dawn in early August 2022. (Israel Defense Forces) Published by Times of Israel

A SKYLARK drone is thrown by an IDF soldier during a military exercise in southern Israel in 201. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) Published by Jerusalem Post

Illustrative: Gunmen fire on Israeli forces during a raid in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, May 13, 2022. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90) Published by Times of Israel

by IMEMC News
Sept 13, 2022

The Israeli occupation army announced it has officially started using armed drones in invasions of several parts of the occupied West Bank.

The army said its soldiers were trained to use and operate the armed drones during the invasions of the West Bank.

It added that, while the drones have not yet been used to carry out an attack, like firing missiles, they are ready for operational use when needed.

Several days ago, Israeli Channel 11 News said the commanders of the Israeli army in the West Bank and the Commander of the “Menashe Brigade” underwent training on the operation of armed drones to use in invasions into areas of the West Bank.

It is worth mentioning that Israel has been using its armed drones in attacking several parts of the Gaza Strip, in addition to using its fighter jets, to assassinate fighters or leaders, including in their homes, killing them and their families, especially during the frequent Israeli offensives of the coastal region.

The Israeli army has also been using surveillance drones in the West Bank, especially during protests against the Annexation Wall and colonies, and used drones to fire gas bombs and even live rounds, including in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem.

However, the use of armed drones to fire rockets in the West Bank could lead to a serious escalation and retaliation by the Palestinian fighters, which would also mean even more escalation across the occupied territory.

IDF preparing to use armed drones in West Bank operations

Amid rise in violence, senior West Bank commanders undergo training to be ready to order Air Force to strike targets with UAVs

By EMANUEL FABIAN for The Times of Israel
7 September 2022, 5:26 pm

The Israel Defense Forces is readying units in the West Bank to potentially make use of armed drones during counterterrorism raids, according to a Tuesday night television report.

The Kan news report said the head of IDF forces in the West Bank and the commander of a brigade in charge of the Jenin and Tulkarem areas recently underwent training to be able to manage an Air Force squad that operates the drones.

The IDF confirmed the report to The Times of Israel.

There have been no reports of armed drones being used to strike targets in the West Bank. In the past, Israel has used attack helicopters in the West Bank, but only in special circumstances and not as a matter of routine.

IDF troops have repeatedly come under gunfire during nightly raids in the West Bank, during a months-long effort against Palestinian terrorists.

The military launched the operation, dubbed Breakwater, after a series of deadly attacks that killed 19 people between mid-March and the beginning of May. More than 1,500 suspects have been detained since the start of the operation.

The near-nightly gun battles have largely ended without injuries to Israeli troops, but in May a veteran of the elite Yamam counterterror police unit was killed, as forces were wrapping up an operation that included raids on terror suspects’ homes.

Armed drones were heavily used during Israel’s recent fighting against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in the Gaza Strip.

Until recently, talk of Israel’s armed drones was barred from publication by the Military Censor. For years the IDF would not confirm it uses armed drones, and Israeli journalists who attempted to report on it came up against the IDF censor.

The IDF said that drones make up about 80% of the total operational flight hours in the Air Force. Israel has not disclosed how many attack drones it has.

Israel might use armed drones in West Bank counter terrorism operations

Two IDF commanders underwent training to operate an air force assault command center that monitors and controls armed drones for operational use.

By ANNA AHRONHEIM for the Jerusalem Post
Published: SEPTEMBER 7, 2022 12:35
Updated: SEPTEMBER 7, 2022 21:26

With the recent rise in Palestinian violence in the West Bank, IDF commanders have been training to prepare for the possibility of using armed drones during counter-terrorism operations, the Israeli military said.

First reported by KAN News and confirmed to The Jerusalem Post, Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Yaniv Alaluf and Menashe Brigade Commander Col. Arik Moyal recently underwent training to operate an air force assault command center that monitors and controls armed drones.

What does this mean for the West Bank?
Following their training on the systems, they will be able to command the use of drones during operations.

The Israeli military has been conducting nightly operations in the West Bank as part of Operation Break the Wave. It is an attempt to crack down on Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank, with a focus on the northern West Bank cities of Jenin and Nablus.

Over the four months since the operation began, more than 2,050 counterterrorism operations have been carried out, during which over 1,500 wanted individuals have been apprehended and hundreds of weapons seized.

Violent clashes, many times with heavy gunfire leveled at Israeli forces, are becoming an almost regular occurrence during the raids. Close to 90 Palestinians have been killed during the clashes, including one man identified as 21-year-old Yunis Ghassan Tayeh, who was killed in the Far’a refugee camp after he threw an improvised explosive device at troops.

Already in May, the IDF was mulling revamping its defensive strategy in the West Bank following the death of YAMAM officer Noam Raz, who was killed by Palestinian gunmen during a raid.

According to a report in Haaretz, the military was considering using helicopters and introducing special drone units to secure group troops during operations, and even fire on armed Palestinians.

With the rise in violence, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi warned that military activity in the West Bank could increase if necessary.

Speaking at a military conference on Monday, he laid some of the blame for the violence on the Palestinian Authority.

“Part of the increase in terrorism stems from the helplessness of the Palestinian Authority security forces, leading to a lack of governance in certain areas of Judea and Samaria, and these are fertile ground for the growth of terrorism,” he said.

“Part of the increase in terrorism stems from the helplessness of the Palestinian Authority security forces, leading to a lack of governance in certain areas of Judea and Samaria, and these are fertile ground for the growth of terrorism.”

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi
“As always, even in face of this development, our test is protecting the citizens of Israel, and our mission is to thwart terrorism. We will reach every city, neighborhood, alley, house or basement for that purpose,” Kohavi continued. “Our activity will continue and we are prepared to increase it as needed.”

Last month, the Military Censor allowed the publication of the use of attack drones by the Israel Air Force.

The international press has reported the use of these drones by the IAF for at least the past 20 years. Their use has been extensively documented in US diplomatic cables as well as at international air shows. Nonetheless, the IDF never publicly disclosed the use of such platforms, and Israeli journalists who attempted to publish such reports were blocked by the censor.

Over the past decade, the operational use of drones by air forces around the world and by the IAF has increased drastically, with almost every operation now seeing the use of these platforms.

IAF drone squadrons fly about 80% of all IAF flight hours. With four drone squadrons based at Palmahim Air Force Base, 70% of all IAF flight hours take off from the base just south of Tel Aviv.

The drones flown by the IAF can be deployed on a large range of missions, from surveillance of targets in enemy countries, to tracking weapons smuggling, to destroying enemy targets which pose an imminent threat to the home front.

Drones played a significant and integral part in Operation Guardian of the Walls in May, with most of them taking off from Palmahim Air Force Base in central Israel. According to data released by the IDF, about 643 missions were carried out by drones for a total of 132.6 flight hours during the 11 days of fighting with terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

There are hundreds of drones in IAF hangars across the country. These range from commercial DJI drones to the Skylarks (which are notorious for crashing in Gaza or in the north) to the larger Shoval, known across the world as the Heron and the Eitan.
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