IDF special forces soldiers boarding a Blackhawk helicopter (IDF Spokesperson)

Soldiers from the Kedem Battalion of the Home Front Command received a phone call last week, which launched the battalion’s ‘War Week’ –  an exercise meant to prepare combat soldiers for activity in extreme conditions, like the evacuation of forces from behind enemy lines, hazardous substances events and the arrests of wanted individuals in a hostile environment.

The soldiers were called from their homes at 2am on the fifth day of Sukkot (Thursday) and shortly afterward, started exercising the different scenarios. The main exercise was a battalion raid consisting of urban warfare training late at night. “The goal of this exercise is to bring about a number of combat capabilities and at the same time to execute our capability to evacuate and rescue,” said Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Elad Edri.

“The exercise simulated a situation in which the Kedem Battalion was ordered to raid a hostile village in order to carry out arrests,” explained Edri. The soldiers exercised scenarios in which terrorists were firing from houses as well as an infantry force that came to arrest a wanted terrorist.

The drills ended in an evacuation drill in the destruction site in Holon, which simulated a hospital which suffered a direct hit by missiles. “The battalion had to rescue 60 wounded people trapped in the rubble,” explained Edri. “This kind of scenario is not baseless and that’s the reason it was important for us to exercise a situation of mass casualty event.”