image Photo: IDF

IDF to use armed UAVs in counter-terror ops

Two senior military commanders have been preparing an air force assault command center for operational use of the weaponized drones, said the IDF. 

By Erin Viner

IDF Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division Brigadier General Yaniv Alaluf and Menashe Regional Brigade Chief Col. Arik Moyal have been named by Israeli media as having undergone training for the use of the armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles as part of Operation Waves Breaker to stem rising terror activities in the West Bank.

The armed drones are likely to be used in hotbed terrorist centers including the Palestinian cities of Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarem, where the IDF has engaged in nearly nightly gunbattles with local fighters.

More than 1,500 wanted Palestinian terror suspects have been captured and hundreds of weapons confiscated during at least 2,050 counterterrorism operations by Israeli security forces over the past four months, following deadly attacks that killed 19 people between March and May 2022.

According to the Israeli military, UAV activities amount to around 80% of total operational flight hours by the Israel Air Force (IAF).

Use of the aerial vehicles played a large role during Israel’s recent three-day Breaking Dawn Operation against the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror organization. The IDF said that an estimated 643 such missions were carried out during last year’s 11-day Operation Guardian of the Walls against the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza and the PIJ.

Outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi warned at the start of the week that military activity will be intensified if deemed necessary.

“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 at a military conference on Monday, stressing, “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.”

In addition, the Israeli Military Censor for the first time permitted local publication confirming the deployment of armed UAVs by the IAF, that has long been reported by foreign journalist over the past two decades.