Since Hamas attacked Israel two weeks ago, the Jewish state has vowed to launch a ground attack on Gaza. Nothing ever. The Israeli military is focused first on freeing hundreds of hostages, and continues to bomb the Gaza Strip from the air.
However, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced on Monday that elite soldiers had entered Gaza in search of Israeli hostages. This unit is the top secret “Sayret Matkal” of the Israeli Special Forces. It specializes in hostage rescue, counter-terrorism, espionage and military intelligence.
Its work is strictly confidential and its members are kept confidential. Their own family should not know that they are also part of it. Entry requirements are very strict and training is difficult. Youths are allowed only after 120 km march.
Sayeret Matkal has its origins in 1948 during the First Israeli-Palestinian War. An IDF battalion is responsible for covert operations in enemy territory. The commandos were later nicknamed “Samson’s Foxes”, in which Samson captures 300 foxes, before releasing them into Philistine territory and setting them on fire in revenge for his wife. In 1957, it was officially created by General Avraham Arnon.
The unit became known for its large-scale operations at Entebbe Airport (Uganda) in 1976. Pro-Palestinian terrorists hijack an Air France Tel-Aviv-Paris flight and take 240 passengers hostage. A week later, Sayeret Matkal launched a spectacular attack, freeing all but the hostages and killing all the captives.
It included many members of the government, such as former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, or Benjamin Netanyahu, who was injured during the operation in Entebbe.
A delayed ground attack?
But many experts argue that if Sayeret Matkal were to make incursions into Palestinian territory now, it would be gathering information to pave the way for a possible ground attack. “I see they also use tanks, important assets not normally used in infiltration operations. Special forces are typically used to carry out highly targeted operations. At the same time I think they are trying to investigate Hamas security. Chris Kwanden, a military historian and professor at the Royal Military School in Heid Neussblad, believes so.
These excursions could also be an integral part of the long-awaited offensive. For some experts, such as former US Ambassador to Israel (2001-2005) Daniel Kurtzer, the attack “s“Additional incursions led by small groups of Israeli soldiers will take place in phases rather than one major invasion,” Does he have Reported on CNBC. It’s the same story for Heloise Fayette, a researcher at the Ifry Center for Security Studies. Estimated at liberation Israel may support the first phase of “infiltrations” to gather intelligence before launching a second “more muscular” ground offensive.
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