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IDF's Sky Riders Flying High

Whether it's tracking terrorists or locating their terror tunnels, the IDF's drone unit patrols Israel's skies. The Times of Israel's Judah Ari Gross gives us a peek inside this specialized group of soldiers, who are led for the first time by a female commander and who take to the air to defend the Holy Land:

[T]he first female commander of the IDF’s “sky riders” is leading the unit to greater heights, with two new types of drones designed to provide longer flight time and higher-quality intelligence gathering capabilities.

Lt. Col. Reut Rettig-Weiss took command of the Artillery Corps’ elite Sky Riders Unit, also known by its Hebrew acronym Rochash, this past July.

The unit, which was officially formed in 2010, gathers intelligence before and during missions using small, relatively low-cost drones, known in English as Skylarks and in Hebrew as Sky Riders.

“It’s hard for me to think of a recent major operation that we didn’t take part in,” Rettig-Weiss’s deputy, Maj. Nimrod, told The Times of Israel on Monday. (For security reasons, the major can only be identified by his first name.)

According to Nimrod, this included the Israel Police’s raid on a house in the Palestinian city of Jenin last week, during a search for the terrorists believed to be responsible for a shooting attack earlier this month that killed an Israeli man. They also were involved in the army’s recent activities around the Gaza Strip, searching for and destroying terror groups’ attack tunnels that enter Israeli territory from the coastal enclave.

“The need for [visual intelligence] has changed. There are more tunnels now, more enemies hiding among a civilian population,” he said...

Tags: Video , IDF

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