Israel creates crack anti-jihad brigade


On Sunday, the IDF inaugurated a new special forces formation, the Oz ("valour") Brigade, to take on jihadi groups deep inside enemy territory.

The brigade amalgamates four elite units specialising in operations in difficult terrain, previously under separate commands.

At the brigade's launch ceremony, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot remarked: "You don't need a wide understanding of intelligence and strategy to grasp the sensitivity of this period. When you look north and see the boastful words and the spirit blowing in from Lebanon, the threats from Daesh commanders in Syria and Iraq, the wave of escalation we have been facing in recent months in Judea and Samaria and the threats from the south, you can see that we must enhance the capabilities we have in our small area."

Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was not alone in making direct threats against Israel. Hizbollah chiefs have been making similar noises in the wake of the assassination of murderer and former Hizbollah operative Samir Kuntar two weeks ago.

Although Israel has refused to acknowledge or deny it was behind the strike on Kuntar, Hizbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel in two speeches that the Lebanese movement would retaliate.

Israeli analysts believe that with Hizbollah's fighters deeply committed in Syria and around 1,400 of its fighters dead, the movement will have trouble launching a major retaliation, but that a "limited" border attack is likely. IDF forces on the Lebanese border are now on high alert and have been reinforced.

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