The army conducted a massive drill over the last week which was designed to train soldiers for combat operations in topographical conditions similar to those in Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces said Friday.
The exercise was the largest one carried out by the 401st Brigade of the Armored Corps in recent years, according to Channel 12 news. The soldiers carried out drills in coordination with the Israeli Air Force, as well as the engineering and intelligence corps.
Dozens of tanks, armored personnel carriers and helicopters were deployed in the training zone in the Jordan Valley, the IDF said.
The brigade’s commander, Col. Dudu Sonago, said that Lebanese Hezbollah fighters have gained extensive experience and have developed more sophisticated battle techniques after fighting in neighboring Syria’s civil war, at the same time as deepening entrenchment above and below ground in Syria.
“As the situation in Syria stabilizes, Hezbollah is returning its forces to Lebanon,” Sonago said. “They are no longer a guerrilla organization, but a real army. They fought there in regiments of companies and battalions, very similar to the military,” he told Channel 12.
“They operate in civilian areas and are ready with a large quantity of anti-tank missiles,” Sonago added. “This is a challenge the IDF must train for.”
The exercise comes as tensions between Israel and Lebanon have heightened in recent months after the Israeli military launched an operation to locate and destroy Hezbollah cross-border attack tunnels reaching into the country.