Kan News reported that IDF Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division Brigadier General Yaniv Alaluf and Menashe Regional Brigade Chief Col. Arik Moyal recently underwent training to manage an Air Force squad that operates drones. Following their training on the systems, they will be able to command the use of drones during operations.
For the past four months, the IDF has been carrying out an extensive anti-terrorism operation called Breakwater in Judea and Samaria, focusing on Shechem (Nablus) and Jenin. More than 2,050 counterterrorism operations have been carried out, during which over 1,500 wanted individuals have been apprehended and hundreds of weapons seized. This operation has been coming under heavy fire from terrorists. In May, YAMAM officer Noam Raz was killed by Palestinian gunmen during a raid. Approximately 90 Palestinians have been killed during the clashes.
The operation comes after deadly attacks killed 19 Israelis between March and May 2022.
If armed drones enter service, it would be the first time they will be used inside Israel to attack targets. In the past, attack helicopters were used, but only in exceptional circumstances. The IDF has used armed drones in the recent Gaza operations targeting Palestinian Islamic Jihad. According to data released by the IDF, about 643 missions were carried out by drones for a total of 132.6 flight hours during the 11 days of fighting with terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF does not usually comment on its capabilities but has stated that drones make up about 80% of the total operational flight hours in the Air Force. Four drone squadrons based at Palmahim Air Force Base south of Tel Aviv account for 70% of all IAF flight hours