IDF forms new battalion to defend Israel’s north

With a battle-hardened terrorist organization sitting on Israel’s border, the IDF’s northern division inaugurates another battalion to defend Israel – “Gates of Fire.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The IDF announced Monday that it has added a new battalion to the Baram Division that is in charge of the Western Galilee, which would fight Hezbollah in the event that the Lebanon-based terrorist organization escalates the conflict in the north to all-out war.

Numbered 9300 and called “Gates of Fire,” the battalion already had its first war-training session last month, the IDF said. The soldiers took part in a wide variety of exercises that simulated situations likely to arise in northern communities and the border area if Hezbollah decided to go on the offensive against Israel. In fact, the terror group had already been preparing to attack by digging the tunnels exposed in recent weeks by the IDF’s Operation Northern Shield.

The five underground tunnels that were discovered, some of them extremely sophisticated, were either blown up or filled with liquid concrete by IDF forces. Others may still be out there, army sources have admitted, and one of the reasons for setting up the new battalion is to upgrade Israel’s ability to defend itself – as well as go on the offensive when necessary.

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“Our battalion was set up to meet two main tasks,” Baram commander Col. Roey Levy told his new soldiers during the five-day training session. “The first is defensive…. In recent years, Hezbollah has been toughened in its battles in Syria, strengthened in terms of weapons, and has openly said that it had plans to attack our territory,” whether it be a village, army post or ridge. “We have to be prepared,” he said.

“It’s not for nothing that our battalion is called ‘Gates of Fire,” Levy continued. “After we stop the enemy’s plan of attack, it will be our turn to attack and subdue the organization in its own territory. You will have to be ready to act and attack key areas with the goal of opening the northern gate for the whole IDF.”

The soldiers of the battalion are all young combat reservists who served in an elite infantry unit in the Golani Division during their mandatory service. The oldest among them finished in 2012. Their original teams were also preserved as much as possible to enable them to fall back on old patterns and work together seamlessly.

Their commander, Lieut. Col. (Res.) Noam Aharon, praised his fighters’ sense of responsibility, which means being ready to serve at a moment’s notice.

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“I’m confident in the men’s abilities to lead the defensive and offensive efforts, and I know that when we will be called to battle, we will bring victory together,” he stated.