Egoz Reconnaissance Unit
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The Egoz Reconnaissance Unit (Hebrew: יחידת אגוז, Yehidat Egoz) is an Israeli ground forces commando unit, in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It specializes in guerrilla, anti-guerrilla warfare, and more complicated ground activity. Egoz is part of the Northern Command's Golani Brigade and today, it is a "Portable" unit, that operates anywhere.
Before the year 2000, Egoz operated mainly in Israel's Northern Command, combating threats from the Hezbollah. Following Israel's withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, its operations were moved to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 2003 and 2004, Egoz prevented more terrorist acts than any other IDF unit. The unit still does some reconnaissance in southern Lebanon.
The Egoz Unit was founded in 1956 as a special forces unit (sayeret), but was disbanded and re-organized in 1964 due to a friendly fire incident. After the Six-Day War, it became a battalion. It was disbanded again following the Yom Kippur War due to manpower shortages in other units, and re-formed in 1995 as an anti-guerrilla unit (company). Most of the initial fighters came from the Shimshon Unit. Its commander was from the Navy Commandos and as a result, much of the discipline, tactics and professionalism come from the Navy Commandos, and are the foundations upon which the unit was built on.
In the 2006 Israel–Lebanon conflict, five members of the Egoz Unit were killed and six wounded in Maroun al-Ras, after they were hit by an anti-tank missile. Around 20 members of Hezbollah were killed.
The training of an Egoz unit begins with basic training, advanced exercises, and unit marches, after which each soldier is interviewed by Israeli intelligence to determine if he should be screened out from the second phase of training. The second phase consists of learning camouflage warfare, various kinds of assaults, land navigation, completing the squad leaders course, jeep driving course, counter-terrorism course, parachute course, reconnaissance course and the alpine course – if there is snow in the Hermon area- among other courses that are highly classified.
When operating in Lebanon, the unit uses unmarked cartridges, as well as the Russian-made RPD and PK light machine guns. Soldiers using the MTAR-21 "Tavor" standard issue weapon have the Litton Akila night vision system mounted on it.
- ynet (Hebrew)
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