IDF Bedouin trackers thwart infiltration attempt at Gaza border

Soldiers of the Bedouin Reconnaissance Battalion captured three infiltrators that crossed into Israel territory from the Gaza Strip, carrying a fragmentation grenade

Date: 20/01/2012, 1:57 PM     Author: Hadas Duvdevani

Three infiltrators that crossed the Gaza Strip fence into Israeli territory were captured late on Wednesday (January 18).

Approximately 24 hours after IDF (Zahal) thwarted an attempt to place an explosive on the fence separating the Gaza Strip and Israel, infiltrators were captured in the southern Gaza Strip. Soldiers of the Bedouin reconnaissance tracking battalion noticed movement and once the infiltrators crossed into Israel they were captured by IDF (Zahal) soldiers.

“We were ready for them, less than 60 meters into Israeli territory the three infiltrators were captured and cooperated with the soldiers,” explained Bedouin reconnaissance battalion company commander, Cpt. Aduan Sawad. According to Cpt. Sawad the infiltrators are between 18 and 20 years old and carried ID’s linking them to Mujahideen Muslims.

“I have been in this region for a long time. Such incidents took place in the past and infiltration threats are always possible. However this doesn’t happen often making this an unusual event,” said Cpt. Sawad. The infiltrators were taken for further investigation by Israel police.

Both the tracker and reconnaissance battalions are composed solely of Bedouin volunteering to serve in the IDF (Zahal) from both northern and southern Israel.

A tracker’s job is to obstruct illegal breaches into Israeli territory including that of terrorists, illegal immigrants and smugglers. The skills required for tracking have been passed down generations of Bedouins, as they are essential for their everyday lives.

Leading semi-nomadic, Muslim lifestyles, the values of peace of mind, enhanced senses, and an unparalleled familiarity with the land are entrenched in their culture.
Trackers spend one strenuous, sleepless week on duty and are given one week to recuperate.

The IDF (Zahal) accommodates their unique needs during Ramadan as well as in general, providing them with university courses, medical services and organized rides from their remote villages.