YAMAM - Special Central Unit
This time it will be a question of the police special forces unit YAMAM (Yahida Merkazit Meiukhedet) - the Special Central Division (in Israel it is deciphered out of habit as the Special Police Division).
In my opinion, this is the best specialized counter-terrorism special forces in Israel and one of the best in the world.
YAMAM is subordinate to the central control of the border troops, which is part of the Israeli police structure. Their main task is to free the hostages, but, given the realities of Israel, this unit performs a wide range of tasks in the fight against terrorism and banditry. It also closely cooperates with the General Security Service and other special services of the army and police.
As is often the case, the YAMAM division was organized as a consequence of the tragedy that occurred. In 1974, the IDF's Special Forces Special Forces failed the hostage operation at the school in Maalot. Then a lot of children's blood was spilled, and the commission came to the conclusion that a specialized unit was needed, which with surgical precision would be able to carry out the delicate tasks of freeing hostages in Israel.
It was necessary to create a unit that would always be on full alert, and be able to arrive at the scene in a few minutes, develop an assault plan for a situation of any complexity, and conduct an operation with minimal losses among the hostages. The unit was created, but it received neither proper attention nor funding.
The situation began to change the former paratrooper Asaf Hefetz. He and his comrades personally developed various methods of penetrating buildings and assault methods, which were different from traditional army methods. Due to the lack of funding, the fighters developed all their equipment with their own hands. They used ladders and ropes (climbing equipment), practiced storming buildings and vehicles. They also always had enough real “work” - Palestinian terrorists from time to time made it possible to “work out” their skills.
Practicing bus capture
So, 11 March 1978, a group of 11 terrorists of the organization "Fatah" (Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine) landed from rubber boats in the reserve "Maagan Michal." The terrorists sailed for two days on the sea, having lost their way to Tel Aviv (two drowned when disembarking).
In the reserve, terrorists met photographer Jail Rubin, a US citizen, and, having learned that they were in Israel, killed her. Then they went to the Tel Aviv-Haifa highway, grabbed a taxi and a bus and forced the driver to go to Tel Aviv. On the way, terrorists shot cars and brutally killed several hostages. Then they took another bus and drove all the remaining hostages into it.
Police blocked the bus in the area of Herzliya. During the skirmish that ensued, a fire broke out and the bus burned down. In this meat grinder, a 35 man died, and Asaf Hefetz was injured. This spontaneous slaughter can hardly be called a typical operation YAMAM. Just the situation once again demonstrated the complexity of Israeli realities.
For the first time, YAMAM as a unit became famous in Lebanon, during Operation “World of Galilee” in 1982. Then, the unit’s soldiers conducted a series of successful operations to arrest and liquidate Palestinian militants and their leaders. The YAMAM division continued its active work on the capture and shooting of Palestinian militants in Lebanon for a very long time, but most of the operations to date are classified.
It was the Lebanese experience that played a key role in shaping the character of the unit and gave it its own unique style. If earlier the YAMAM fighters had to borrow experience and instructors from the “army team”, now the unit has its own instructors from among its own veterans, who themselves can already teach a lot to others.
The assault with the opening of the door
In 80 and 90, the YAMAM unit was involved in a number of well-known operations against terrorists and Israeli criminals. So, in 1988, three terrorists seized a bus heading for Dimona.
Fighters YAMAM first arrived at the site and developed a plan of assault. In addition to the assault group, it was planned to use snipers, but the terrorists smelled something wrong and managed to kill three hostages until they were eliminated by special forces.
PGM Ultima Ratio YAMAM sniper rifle
All these years, the YAMAM subdivision still remained in the shadow of the more eminent special forces of the General Staff Matkal. In 1994, the Army Special Forces attempted to free the soldier Nakhshon Vaksman, who had been captured by the Palestinians, but the operation failed - the hostage and the commander of the assault group died because of a shortcoming in planning.
Later, "CSKA" recognized that the assault plan proposed by YAMAM was more thoughtful. By the middle of the 90's, the YAMAM Special Forces had already gained valuable experience in storming buildings. The squad had excellent performance indicators. Detachment losses over the years have been minimal.
With the aggravation of the situation at the end of 90-x - the beginning of 2000-x, and the beginning of the second intifada, the “finest hour” of YAMAM arrived. The division conducted more than a thousand operations both within the country and in adjacent territories. By the end of the nineties, YAMAM’s operations were fairly similar: the General Security Service obtained information about the location of the ringleaders of the terrorists, or about the planned attacks and terrorist attacks.
The YAMAM division was preparing a seizure, or an ambush, during which the terrorists were either detained or destroyed. In this case, the operations were usually lightning-fast and relatively quiet. There were practically no casualties among the civilian population and damage to the infrastructure. Several YAMAM fighters died while performing combat missions, the density of operations reached absurd workload — three or four operations on the same day at different points in Israel.
For example, in 1999, the CSR received information that five terrorists with a large amount of explosives were in a private house in Taibe. YAMAM and Duvdevan army unit blocked the house and offered the terrorists to lay down weapon. In response, they opened fire, and one of them blew himself up with a suicide belt and wounded a fighter.
In response, the units drove the engineering troops bulldozer Caterpillar D9, which began to destroy the house. The YAMAM snipers destroyed the remaining militants, took one alive. The CSB received from him information about the organizers, and everything went in a circle.
Detention of an Arab criminal by YAMAM fighters
At the beginning of 2000, YAMAM snipers hit the center of the scandal. During the riots, 9 Israeli Arabs were killed. Under pressure from the “left camp”, the persecution of the fighters began - interrogations, investigations, commissions and other, beloved in Israeli society, hysteria Fortunately, common sense triumphed, and the guys acquitted.
In 2000, YAMAM was engaged in work that was familiar to them — the unit’s snipers conducted a series of operations to eliminate the militants who had taken part in the bloody attacks. This also caused criticism in the "Left circles".
In 2001, the YAMAM snipers destroyed Abed Rahman Khamen, the organizer of the terrorist attack at the Dolphinarium disco. Then the teenager 22 died, including a tourist from Ukraine 2, who decided to go to the "Russian" disco. "Left-liberals" and here said that the terrorist had to be brought to court.
Nevertheless, the main tool of YAMAM in the war on terror is precisely the capture of terrorists alive. Just for this, the unit is so necessary to the General Security Service.
In general, only for the period 2000-2005. YAMAM conducted more than 1500 operations, annually preventing dozens of major attacks. 179 terrorists were destroyed, a third of them - on the way to the site of the attack. The number of detained accomplices of terror amounts to hundreds.
At the end of the intifada, YAMAM did not remain without work. The flow of militants Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups has not dried up and did not even decrease. From 2005 year to the present day, the fighters of the unit regularly hold arrests, ambush and neutralize the terrorists.
As a rule, these operations do not fall in the morning news. And even the Palestinians on the ground do not always understand what actually happened last night and where their national heroes disappeared.
So over the years, thanks to the well-coordinated work of the General Security Service and YAMAM, such bright, marching towards success, figures like:
Eduan Keyes is the terrorist responsible for the attacks in which 77 Israelis were killed. Edouin with five armed comrades-in-arms barricaded himself in the house. Yamam blocked the building, snipers destroyed two terrorists. As the rest resisted, the house was shelled from tank and destroyed by a bulldozer D9. Eduan's body was removed from the ruins.
Abdullah Quasma - the head of Hamas in Hebron, responsible for the terrorist attacks that killed more than forty Israelis, was destroyed in an attempt to resist arrest.
In July, 2004-th destroyed a group of six militants led by a liaison Hezbollah in Tul Karem.
A few months later, among the three terrorists killed by the YAMAM unit, they will recognize Muhammad Jasan Shaikh, a confidant of Yasser Arafat.
In July, a 2005 th in Khan Yunes sniper killed Hamas militant Said Tsiam, responsible for mining the tunnels under the block posts.
Nidal Abu Saad - the commander of the Islamic Jihad in Judea and Samaria and two of his comrades were killed in an exchange of fire with the YAMAM fighters.
The list of even the famous "sweeps" is very long ...
At the same time, YAMAM constantly fulfills all sorts of scenarios of hostage situations. The detachment at any moment is ready to leave / fly into place and storm any object - be it a high-rise building, a basement, a land, air or water transport.
The YAMAM fighters practice high-altitude mountaineering on the Azrieli skyscraper in Tel Aviv.
Today, YAMAM is a professional unit that is radically different from other special units of Israel. Firstly, only contract soldiers and only veterans are admitted to the subdivision. The average age of the YAMAM fighters is much higher than in the IDF army units, some fighters are over forty years old.
Secondly, the selection in the unit is very hard - in addition to physical tests, there are six psychological stages (interviews with psychologists and veterans). Preparation lasts about 12 months. Previous experience and titles, of course, are welcome, but they do not affect the position in the detachment. Even those who left the army major begin here from scratch.
The fighters use specials. facilities for intelligence indoors.
YAMAM has an excellent technical base, its own high-class instructors and, most importantly, invaluable experience in built-up areas. The unit has a rich arsenal of high-quality weapons - PGM French sniper rifles and Belgian PP FN P-90, FiveSeven pistols (this is only the latest arrivals). YAMAM uses the latest special tools and innovations in high technology.
In the structure of the unit there are several teams of different specifics - this is an assault squad, snipers, sappers, climbers, dog trainers, combat swimmers and other specialists - only about 200 people. Despite all of the above, YAMAM is still a community of enthusiasts - low salary, constant combat readiness, lack of career prospects make this unit a little attractive for careerists; they still serve there only as an idea.
Fighters use a robot
Separately, I note that YAMAM has the highest level of rifle training among all the special forces of Israel. For years, YAMAM fighters have taken personal and team prizes at all rifle competitions of the security forces.
YAMAM snipers are at a much higher level than their army counterparts, both because of the length of their experience and because of the constant exchange of experience with Western special forces.
Shooting on the move
Not to mention the international achievements of this unit - YAMAM represented Israel at Urban Shield competitions, where for two years in a row he took first place, bypassing American SWAT from different cities and even the FBI HRT Unit, which has a much more impressive resource and budget.
YAMAM also willingly maintains relations with other similar units, for example, German GSG9 spent some time training in Israel.
The division does not like to brag and reveal the details of their work, so video reports and photography are rare.
In this article, I used a photo of the same photographer Ziva Koren, one of the few who were let in by the guys to look at their working life.
I offer some more videos: