Israeli Commanders Attend Training Session

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JERUSALEM, Israel - In a command-wide training session at the IDF Central Command base in Lachish last week, officers noted increased kidnapping attempts over the past year.

"Last year we counted five unsuccessful attempted kidnappings, but this year there has been an increase in these incidents," Central Command's Intelligence Officer Col. Ronen told participants, according to a report posted on the IDF's website.

"Kidnapping is one of the main goals of the terrorist organizations," Ronen said.

GOC General Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi said the "most extreme situation" the IDF can envision is the Palestinian Authority turning its weapons against Israeli forces, which he called a possible, but unlikely scenario.

"The current operation situation in the Judea and Samaria region is one in which there is control over the level of attacks," he said.

Mizrachi said Israel and the Palestinian Authority "share a mutual interest in ensuring that terrorism will not come out of the Judea and Samaria region, nor will it be inside...the region."

Brig.-Gen.Nitzan Alon, commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, said the IDF needs to be prepared in the event the PA turns on Israel and is no longer a partner in the fight against terrorism.

As part of the training session, the Nachhon Battalion simulated mock battles with Palestinian Authority security forces who had turned their weapons against IDF soldiers.

The officers also said the IDF is keeping close tabs on interaction between terror operatives in Judea and Samaria and their counterparts in the Gaza Strip, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

Mizrachi said the Palestinian Authority is most afraid of Hamas attempting a takeover in the region as they did in the Gaza Strip in June 2007.

"The Palestinian leaders fear a Hamas takeover of the Judea and Samaria region more than they fear us," Mizrachi said.

"It is important to remember that even after the next clash, both sides will remain here. None of us will go off to Switzerland. That's a fact that affects operational missions in the sector," he said.

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