Sayeret Egoz - Counter-Guerilla Warfare Unit
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Unit 621, otherwise known as Sayeret Egoz is one of the IDF’s most elite units. Specializing in guerilla warfare, counter-guerilla warfare, reconnaissance and direct action, they are IDF’s trump card in the next conflict with Israel’s enemies to the north. Egoz special operatives are trained to carry out operations in and around Israel’s multiple environments, including Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, in addition to longer range operations behind enemy lines in Lebanon and Syria.They are masters of camouflage and always ready for their next mission. From the forests and mountains of Israel’s Golan Heights to the Southern desert region of the negev and across all borders, there is no place they will not go, there is no place the enemy can hide and you will never see them coming.
Egoz was reincarnated in 1995 after it was disbanded nearly 20 years earlier due to the Yom Kipur War’s manpower shortages. The decision to re-establish the unit was made after the Hezbollah terror organization waged a guerilla campaign in Southern Lebanon against the IDF and US forces and carried out multiple terror attacks against Jews and Western allies world wide.
The IDF needed a solution to combat Hezbollah’s unconventional guerilla tactics. There are a few reasons why guerilla tactics are effective and why they are so hard for a large military force such as the IDF to combat:
First, you are usually playing on their home turf. Guerilla fighters usually hide amongst the civilian population. It is very hard to identify them and they know their environment very well.
Second, they attack in small groups and withdraw quickly. Before you know that you are being attacked the guerilla’s are already pulling back.
Last, they will not hesitate to attack soft targets. You are not fighting against another army that is bound by the rules of their government and international law.They will stop at nothing to cause as much damage as possible, especially if it means killing or kidnapping innocent civilians.
The IDF realized that they could not fight Hezbollah with their airforce and tanks. They needed a unit that would work in small teams, go deep behind enemy lines and adapt to any environment to counter Hezbollah’s guerilla tactics.The top brass assembled a group of former IDF commanders from various special forces ranging from the elite paratroopers reconnaissance unit to the legendairy shayetet 13 unit. They worked together and created the new incarnation of sayeret egoz.
Egoz operatives go through a rigorous 16 month training period. This program is known to be one of the toughest in the IDF, as demonstrated by the notably high drop rate of recruits. It is designed to push recruits beyond their mental and physical limits in order to prepare them for their operational service. Among other things, the recruits train in extensive long-range navigation, reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, and various kinds of warfare and assaults.
Egoz is one of a few units in the IDF that trains its recruits in long-range solo navigations. In addition to other highly classified unit-specific courses, every Egoz soldier completes the IDF commanders course. Their operatives are known for specializing in camouflage and heavily forested areas. They learn how to become one with their surroundings and are almost undetectable in the field. This gives them a leg up against guerrillas, as Egoz Operatives are known to set up deadly ambushes and neutralize the enemy before even being seen or heard.
Egoz has played a major role in almost all of Israel’s wars and conflicts in the last 2 decades. In the 2006 second Lebanon war, Egoz was on the front lines fighting against Hezbollah. They succeeded in eliminating many Hezbollah fighters and conquering key positions in various battles. They also succeeded in sabotaging some of Hezbollah missile launchers, disabling their ability to launch missile attacks into northern Israel.
In 2009 the unit took part in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, a campaign to weaken Hamas’s rocket capabilities, after the terror group was launching numerous rocket attacks against Israel and its citizens living in south. During the operation, an Egoz unit came under attack by Hamas terrorists shooting from the second floor window of a house. The Egoz operatives were pinned down and one of their soldiers was wounded. In desperation, one of the commanders climbed up a gutter to the balcony on the second floor and threw a grenade into the house, killing all the terrorists. After the operation the commander received a military decoration for his dedication to the mission, for being a personal example of leadership when the unit was under fire and for being a complete badass.
In the summer of 2014 Egoz was once again put on the front lines in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.The goal of the operation was to destroy all of Hamas’s terror attack tunnels that were dug to infiltrate into Israel in order to kill and kidnap Israeli citizens. Egoz were assigned to the front lines of the Sagiyah neighborhood, which was one of the most difficult areas to fight in, because of its topographical height advantage.
During the operation their unit commander was badly wounded by a anti tank missile.Despite this heavy blow to the unit, they persevered with the mission and succeeded in killing over 50 Hamas terrorist in multiple direct confrontations with the enemy.After the war, the unit received a military decoration for their outstanding operational performance.
Today, the unit regularly conducts classified missions deep behind enemy lines. When they are not preparing for their next mission, they are training in high altitude areas such as the mountains of Cyprus, as well as the Golan Heights, for Israel’s next confrontation with their enemies to north.
Israel is always on the brink of war and they never know when or where the next confrontation will be. But when the time comes for Israel to stand up and defend itself, you can be damn sure that Egoz will be leading the way.