Israel Mastery in CQB: A Legacy from Entebbe to GAZA

CQB Israel Tactics

Israel Mastery in CQB: A Legacy from Entebbe to GAZA


Israel’s approach to counter-terrorism and hostage rescue is marked by a relentless pursuit of innovation and excellence.

From the historic Operation Entebbe to the recent Rafah rescue, Israel’s strategic evolution in close quarters battle (CQB) tactics showcases a commitment to safeguarding lives against the backdrop of global terrorism.


The Entebbe Milestone

Operation Entebbe in 1976 stands as a testament to Israel’s bold stance against terrorism. The daring rescue of 106 hostages from hijackers in Uganda not only highlighted Israel’s refusal to negotiate with terrorists but also set a global benchmark for CQB operations. This pivotal moment in Israel’s counter-terrorism history demonstrated the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) exceptional skills and strategic acumen.



Insights from Munich

The harrowing Munich Olympics massacre in 1972, where 11 Israeli athletes fell victim to terrorism, underscored the critical need for robust intelligence and readiness. This tragedy propelled Israel to refine its counter-terrorism framework, leading to the establishment of elite units and the adoption of preemptive strategies to deter future threats.

Evolving with Time

In the face of evolving terrorist tactics, Israel’s counter-terrorism mechanisms have continuously adapted. The 2024 Rafah operation, involving a coordinated effort by the IDF, the General Security Service, and the Defense Ministry, showcased Israel’s ability to execute complex rescues in urban settings. This operation not only freed hostages Fernando Marman and Luis Har but also reaffirmed Israel’s dominance in urban CQB scenarios.

Rafah: A Benchmark in Urban Warfare

The IDF hostage operation in Rafah stands as a hallmark of precision and strategic depth in urban combat and CQB, showcasing Israel’s unwavering commitment to its citizens’ security. This meticulously planned rescue mission in the heart of Rafah on February 12, 2024, highlights the IDF capability to overcome complex challenges in hostile environments.

Preparation and Execution:

For about a month leading up to the operation, IDF fighters, alongside the Shin Bet’s operational unit and the 13th Fleet, rigorously trained for a hostage rescue mission in Rafah. However, the lack of accurate intelligence and challenging ground conditions initially hindered the operation’s execution.

On the pivotal night, IDF forces, leveraging the element of surprise, navigated through Rafah, bypassing three Hamas battalions undetected. Their objective was a building where hostages were held, surrounded by armed adversaries. The operation’s success hinged on stealth, coordination, and the precise use of force.

The Rescue:

Upon reaching the target building, the forces executed a swift breach, neutralizing three terrorists guarding the hostages in a matter of seconds. Special measures were taken to ensure the hostages’ safety, including the use of abseiling ropes for a rapid and secure extraction, avoiding further risks.

Simultaneously, the Israeli Air Force conducted targeted strikes on Hamas infrastructure to disrupt their command and control capabilities. These strikes were instrumental in neutralizing potential threats, significantly reducing the enemy’s ability to counter the operation.


Aftermath and Impact:

The operation, lasting about an hour, involved approximately 1,000 personnel, demonstrating the IDF’s extensive coordination across multiple units. The Air Force played a crucial role in covering the extraction, ensuring the safe return of the hostages to Israel.

This operation not only freed the hostages but also delivered a strategic blow to Hamas, with significant losses reported. The success of this mission in the densely populated and highly fortified area of Rafah is a testament to the IDF’s proficiency in urban warfare and CQB tactics.

A Legacy of Continuous Learning

Israel journey from the sands of Entebbe to the urban landscape of Rafah reflects a saga of learning and adaptation. Each mission, with its unique challenges, has contributed to Israel’s tactical playbook, enriching its legacy in the realm of counter-terrorism and CQB.

In Summary

The Rafah operation exemplifies the IDF’s advanced capabilities in conducting high-risk missions within urban settings. It underscores the importance of intelligence, preparation, and the integration of various military assets in ensuring mission success. This operation serves as a benchmark in urban warfare, reinforcing Israel’s resolve to protect its citizens under any circumstances.



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