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IDF Completes Major Military Drill Near Lebanese Border Amid Tensions With Iran

© REUTERS / Amir CohenIsraeli soldiers of the Search and Rescue brigade carry their comrade on a stretcher during a training session in Ben Shemen forest, near the city of Modi'in May 23, 2016
Israeli soldiers of the Search and Rescue brigade carry their comrade on a stretcher during a training session in Ben Shemen forest, near the city of Modi'in May 23, 2016 - Sputnik International
The drill reportedly imitated an armed conflict between the Israeli military and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have concluded a large-scale military drill in northern Israel this week, the Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

The drill was conducted by the 450th Battalion from the IDF's School for Infantry Corps Professions & Squad Commanders, also known as Bislamach Brigade, and simulated a military conflict with Hezbollah, a Lebanese movement considered to be terrorist by Israel.

The drill comes amid rising tensions between Israel and Iran and ramped up diplomatic efforts to warm Sunni Arabic nations towards Tel Aviv.

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The Bislamach Brigade is the unit where Israeli troops are sent to be trained as squad commanders and platoon sergeants.

"This course is the first one that they do as they go from [being a] soldier to officer. This course makes them an officer who has responsibility over some 12 soldiers," Lt.-Col. Liran Bitton of 450th Battalion told reporters. "They understand themselves better, the purpose of their service and their responsibilities. It's amazing to see the change."

Back in 2006, Israel fought a 34-day war with Hezbollah, and recently, tensions along Israel's northern border have been somewhat on the rise again. In particular, the IDF embarked on a mission to find and destroy Hezbollah tunnels dug under the border — which were built even before the war.

"The next war will be different than it was in the past," Bitton said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post. "The enemy has gotten better and has more advanced weapons and more experience. Both sides have advanced, and we know our enemy. But, at the same time, I am sure they know us, too."

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Israel conducted numerous airstrikes in Syria in order to prevent alleged Iranian entrenchment in the Arab Republic, accusing Tehran of smuggling weapons to Hezbollah. However, Tel Aviv's incursions have led America's top intelligence officials to warn of an increased threat of regional war between Iran and Israel, the Jerusalem Post reports.

"We know how to prepare ourselves for the different fronts," Bitton continued, adding that "it's not about who we will face, but whether we are really prepared to confront them."

Asked for his ideas as to when the next war might begin, Bitton said he gets ready for war at any moment.

"I always think like that, so that I am prepared, and I prepare my soldiers," he said.

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