Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Inner workings of Yamam tactical hostage rescue team revealed

Inner workings of Yamam tactical hostage rescue team revealed
by Rebecca Anna Stoil
Jerusalem Post, Jan. 17, 2006
After five-and-a-half years, the public now knows that it was Zohar Dvir who served as commander of the Yamam tactical hostage rescue team, the most elite unit of the Israel Police.
During his service, Dvir nabbed bombers minutes before detonation, settled the score with terrorist leaders and even survived near-fatal injuries that almost put an early end to his prestigious career.
Known until now as "Z," Dvir revealed his identity for the first time as he concludes his service, after leading the unit since the early days of the second intifada.
Dvir also made another disclosure, telling journalists that during the second intifada the Yamam managed to kill some 50 terrorists en route to suicide bombings and also killed an additional 129 wanted terrorists.
But it is the number of arrests - rather than kills - that attest to the unit's significance in the Israeli security community. A total of 550 wanted terrorists were captured alive and arrested in the same period by the unit, considered internationally to be the finest anti-terror police force in the world.
Apprehending terrorists wanted for questioning rather than simply killing them is one of the unit's specialties.
Yamam was founded in 1974, following that Ma'alot terror attack in which terrorists infiltrating from Lebanon stormed a school, taking the students hostage. As a tactical and hostage rescue unit, the Yamam was organized for precision missions that require more finesse and a steadier trigger finger than any other existing units.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, a nine-year veteran of the Yamam, said the unit "is the most advanced anti-terrorist unit in the country and has prevented hundreds of terrorist attacks on all levels.
The unit is "unique in its capability to be at any time in any place," allowing the Yamam to "continue to save lives every day," he emphasized.
For over two decades, the defense establishment struggled with the question of how to differentiate between Yamam missions and missions for its IDF parallel, the Sayeret Matkal (famous for the headline-grabbing hostage rescue in Entebbe in 1976). But, said Dvir, both units have "grown up" and, since 2002, the two former rivals have begun to cooperate rather than compete. Following the mass-hostage situations in Beslan and the Moscow Stadium, the two units began to hold joint training sessions in which Dvir shared equipment and strategies with his IDF counterpart.
Dvir himself came to the Yamam after a long service of command in elite IDF infantry and special forces units, including the Golani Reconnaissance Unit. He joined the unit in 1999, already holding the rank of IDF lieutenant-colonel (res.) and after a brief two years assumed command of the unit.
It has been a busy period for the Yamam, which tries to maintain a low profile. Dvir told reporters that upon multiple occasions motorists frustrated by unexplained traffic jams in the Sharon never found out that the reasons for the slow-down were Yamam operations nabbing would-be bombers. "We met them on the way. We always give them the chance to surrender, but some choose to take a short cut [to paradise ] anyway."
"The public is aware of only about 10% of what we do," Dvir explained, "and that is good for us. We mostly care that whoever needs to know, knows."
Training is grueling, frequently including urban rappelling, bomb detonation and tactical entry to buildings.
"This is a unit that is on one hand like an American Swat team, and on the other hand is like a military commando unit," Dvir explained.
The unit likes to bring in former officers as team members, he said.
"A company commander who is now the fourth team member from the right still thinks like a company commander, and from our perspective, that is a benefit."
Many of the Yamam's operations focus on getting both terror leaders - and increasingly, their computers - out of the West Bank and Gaza alive and in a condition that allows security services to gain vital intelligence information from their prisoners.
Of his long list of successful operations, Dvir said the one that remains closes to his heart was when his unit tracked down the terrorist who killed filmmaker Revital Ohayon and her two young sons Noam, 4, and Matan, 5, in their Kibbutz Metzer home in 2002. His team had found the young mother dead, hugging her children, but "one year and one month later due to intelligence from the Shin Bet" the Yamam was offered the chance to try to apprehend the terrorist who killed them. The terrorist was killed in the arrest attempt.
"After that, I did something that I never do. I called Avi Ohayon and told him that the circle had been closed," Dvir reminisced.
But despite the daring deeds and Dvir's distinguished combat history, his career was almost terminated in 2005 by a chance encounter with a reckless driver. En route to pay a condolence call to the family of Yamam officer Dror Shushan, who had just been killed in a motorcycle crash, Dvir pulled over to the side of the road to rescue a motorist in an overturned car. After pulling the injured man to safety and instructing another passerby to erect warning signs on the shoulder of the road, a truck disregarded the danger signs and plowed into the car where Dvir was administering first-aid to the crash victim.
Both Dvir and the victim of the initial crash were thrown approximately 25 meters by the force of the truck slamming into them. While the other victim was killed immediately, Dvir was rushed in critical condition to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center suffering from massive head injuries as well as broken legs, a broken pelvis, a broken jaw and broken ribs. His next memory is six days later when he woke up concerned that if he didn't recuperate soon, he would lose command of the Yamam.
Within two-and-a-half months of the crash, Dvir was back in the office, on crutches.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by

Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israƫl in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog

Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Isfake lobby

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory