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Unit 217, otherwise known as Duvdevan. Is the IDF’s elite undercover counter-terrorism unit.
It carries out undercover operations in urban areas, during which they are often disguised in Arab civilian clothes in order to infiltrate terror cells and prevent terror activities. The unit performs many high-risk and complicated operations, including targeted killings, kidnappings, and a range of other undercover, classified missions. Duvdevan means cherry in hebrew.
The unit prides itself on being the spearhead of Israeli counter terror operations. Duvdevan is regarded as one of the most successful counter-terror units in the world. The unit, unlike other IDF special forces unit, can operate in more than one place at once, and can operate independently. They are masters of disguise and one of the IDFs most deadly units. They will stop at nothing to bring Israel’s enemies to justice.
Duvdevan was established in 1987 after a major wave of Palestinian terror attacks carried out during the first Intifada. In the beginning of the conflict, the IDF employed traditional Special forces tactics which often resulted in complete disaster. During high value target arrests, the IDF were surrounded by hundreds of violent Palestinians, which would often erupt into full-scale riots. The targets would be long gone by the time the forces reached their targets. The units simply weren’t prepared to handle these situations.
The commanders of the IDF decided that they needed an undercover counter-terror unit with the ability to go undetected and operate deep within populated Palestinian areas. This new unit would gather intel, carry out arrests, kidnappings and targeted assassinations against terror cells.
Recruits must undergo a demanding 18 month training period. The training process includes advanced Krav maga, counter-terrorism, advanced urban warfare, guerilla warfare, as well as a two month advanced urban navigation course.Getting from point to point without the use of a GPS is vital for the unit when navigating among urban streets in hostile territories. The candidates receive another one month advanced inner-unit counter-terrorism course. Only when the unit is confident in the trainee’s prowess as a counter-terrorism operator will he begin his 4-month undercover course. This is where recruits learn how to go into enemy territory in disguise.The course entails everything from learning the Arabic language and Arab traditions as well as learning how to blend in with civilian camouflage.
Duvdevan has carried some of the IDF’s highest profile arrests and terrorist assassinations in the past 20 years. In 2017 alone they conducted over 300 successful missions.
Here are two examples of missions that were cleared for publication:
In the late 1990s Israel was suffering from weekly terror attacks. The Shabak, Israel's Central Intelligence Agency, received intel on the location of a high value target that was responsible for killing 4 IDF soldiers. Because the terrorist was hiding out in the middle of a highly populated and hostile neighborhood, the IDF assigned Duvdevan with the task of bringing the terrorist in dead or alive. A team of Duvdevan operators went undercover as Palestinian civilians and drove into the terrorist’s neighborhood in a van. When they reached the target's house they stripped off the disguises and strapped on their combat gear.
Upon exiting and the van and preparing to breach the target’s door, they came under heavy machine gun fire. The operators returned fire and fell back to cover.
One of the Duvdevan soldiers prepared an Anti-tank missile and fired it at the house, killing the terrorist.
In 2015 a Palestinian terrorist stabbed an Israeli man at the Gush junction.
During the attack the terrorist was shot and managed to escape to a Palestinian hospital in Hebron. The IDF called on Duvdevan to extract the terrorist from the hospital.
A team, disguised as Palestinian men with a pregnant woman in a wheelchair, infiltrated the hospital and located the terrorist. When they tried to arrest the target they were attacked by the terrorist’s cousin who was standing guard. They shot killed the cousin and escaped with the terrorist tied to the wheelchair.
Today, Duvdevan carries out some of the IDF's most dangerous missions in Israel’s most hostile urban areas. When they are not carrying out high profile arrests or gathering intel on Israel’s enemies, they are on call and always ready to jump into action in a moments notice.
Justice will be served when Duvdevan is on the job.
(Picture credit: Celia Garion)
Unit 669, is the IDF’s elite Combat, search and rescue unit. Tasked with extraction, recovery and medical treatment of injured soldiers, combat pilots and civilians. Their specialties include helicopter extraction and infiltration, rappelling, fast roping, scuba diving and counter-terrorism.They are Israel’s guardian angels and heroes from the sky. They will not rest until everyone is brought home and accounted for.