How IDF special forces hunt down Hezbollah squads

The elite troops of the Maglan reconnaissance reserve unit estimate they have eliminated some 140 Hezbollah terrorists, with some strikes reaching ranges of 12 and even 18 km from the border

The sight on Israel's northern border is unbelievable. An entire region, stretching for 135 kilometers is desolate. However, in reality, this land is far from abandoned, with thousands of soldiers spread in its hinterland and concealed positions. Leading the hunt for Hezbollah terrorists on the other side is the elite reconnaissance reserve unit Maglan, as the regular operatives have been deeply embedded in the Khan Younis area in recent weeks.
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The soldiers have been here since the second week of the war, after fighting in the Gaza enclave following the October 7 terror attack. They are expected to remain here for at least several more months. Many of them are elite soldiers with exceptional skills and immediate precision fire capabilities, and they know it.
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Maglan troops sitting on chairs from a Nir Oz kindergarten
The troops here contend with daily Hezbollah attacks, initially aimed primarily at them. In recent weeks, the frequency of launches has increased, targeting civilian areas such as homes in villages and deserted kibbutzim. On the other side, southern Lebanese villages along the border line have been abandoned, turning them into actual Hezbollah strongholds. In southern Lebanon, the local residents are mostly gone, so Hezbollah has taken over most of the houses and civilian institutions, such as clinics and mosques, converting them into open military positions, further evidence of an anticipated rise in tension.
So far, Maglan soldiers at the Lebanon border have killed at least 80 Hezbollah terrorists out of more than 150 attacks carried out since the beginning of the war, averaging more than two per day. "We killed much more than what Hezbollah officially published, and we estimate the number is around 140," says Lt. Col. S. "We have held the area for so long that we developed intimacy with the targets in front of us." In some of the Maglan operations, they reached ranges of 12 and even 18 km from the border.
Equipped with precision ground-to-ground missiles, the combatants have implemented a method that enables ground forces to communicate with operators of remotely piloted aircraft for integrated ambush or deception operations. These means, in addition to the experience of reserve soldiers, they have led to the rapid elimination of Hezbollah cells. The pinnacle was a six-second duration from identification to the missile making a precise hit on Hezbollah terrorists.
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תקיפות בדרום לבנון
תקיפות בדרום לבנון
IDF strikes in southern Lebanon
(Photo: "X")
Alongside the technological means, the soldiers make practical use of a poignant yet effective memento they allowed themselves to take from Kibbutz Nir Oz: small chairs from the kibbutz's kindergarten that was destroyed during a terrorist infiltration. "At night, we found the children's kindergarten and used it to rest between missions, and then when we saw the kids' chairs, we used them for more comfortable seating in ambushes because they are low. We're waiting for the moment when everything is over so we can return these chairs from the Lebanon border to the little ones in Kibbutz Nir Oz," said G., one of the soldiers.
Some of the troops are residents of the southern communities themselves, like S., who lives in Kibbutz Zikim. During the October 7th terrorist attack, he hid in the bomb shelter with knives in his hands, shielding his wife and toddler daughter, waiting for the right opportunity to leave the kibbutz and join his comrades. Now he is with them on the northern border. "I've been waiting to go back to my family, but my wife understands the significance of what I do here," he shared.
Now, the soldiers are deployed along the entire length of what was once the Galilee 91st Division until October 7 and nowadays extends to a broader area that stretches on the most dangerous border. While residents in the Gaza periphery are already being called to return home, the danger on the northern border still looms, and uncertainty prevails. "Yet, it's not like it was here before October 7," clarified S. "Hezbollah already has much less control over the firepower and surveillance on the Israeli side, and if at the beginning we paid the price for a lack of operational understanding, now we have the upper hand in most decisive confrontations."
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