Friday, March 25, 2005

New US “Intel Snipers” Fielded in Iraq, IDF Undercover Unit in Gaza- Debka

New US “Intel Snipers” Fielded in Iraq, IDF Undercover Unit in Gaza

The newly-employed American and Israeli counter-terror tactics have some fundamentally common features, as DEBKAfile’s military experts point out.

In Iraq, the US army has deployed for the first time a 42nd Infantry Division unit known as “Intel Snipers”, i.e. sniper-trained soldiers of the division’s 173rd Long Range Surveillance Detachment. They are armed with newly-issued M-14 rifles which have never been surpassed as a marksman’s weapon.

Some 1,000 km to the west, Israel has belatedly deployed for full-scale operations behind enemy lines in the Gaza Strip the same kind of elite unit, the IDF’s Shimshon Battalion 92, reinforced by scores of intelligence snipers trained to target small terrorist units.

Capt. Michael Manning, commander of the US unit, describes the M-14 as a tremendous force multiplier. It is an integral part of the unit’s equipment for LRS-Long Range Surveillance and targeting. In Iraq, the unit will operate 80-100 km inside enemy terrain, observe and report on improvised explosive devices and indirect fire and, if ordered, eliminate insurgents with their sniper rifles which are capable of neutralizing targets at a distance of 800 meters.

The American Intel Snipers will also be charged with sterilizing the vicinity of US bases, command posts and convoys of hostile threats.

The Shimshon Battalion’s missions in the Gaza Strip are somewhat similar. Based in the Israeli location of Netzarim, this unit’s undercover missions cover the northern part of the Gaza Strip. They include guarding Israeli communities, detentions of wanted and suspected terrorists, and the liquidation of enemy assailants and bombers before they strike. Shimshon’s troops are on hand to abort recoilless rocket grenade attacks and Qassam missile launchings.

These Israeli intel snipers, in full-scale operation for the first time in the first three days of this week, took out 19 Palestinians caught in the act of firing missiles or mortars from the eastern districts of Gaza City.

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