IDF launches special CBRN battalion

The Israeli Defense Force recently inaugurated a battalion dedicated to dealing directly with the effects of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack.

The unit, known as Yanshuf, or Owl, has been in existence for some time, but it has only just been fully recognized as a battalion in its own right, according to the IDF website.

Becoming a full battalion involves a series of major changes to the unit’s operation. The company soldier track for the unit has been lengthened and company commanders are now required to complete the same training course as company commanders in regular units, according to

Yanshuf recently conducted its first battalion-level exercise. Its companies drilled in scenarios involving a simulated CBRN attack in open spaces and urban environments. In the exercise, the new battalion worked with a team from the Engineering Unit for Special Operations.

The IDF’s Ground Forces Commander, General Sami Turjeman, welcomed Yanshuf and implied that its recent upgrade could have something to do with fears of an Israeli confrontation with Syria, reports.

"We are here in the southern Golan Heights," Turjeman said, according to "Not far away from us, the Syrians are preparing various capabilities that we need to prepare for. Our job is not to prepare for the conventional events but for the extreme scenarios, and Yanshuf Battalion is the spearhead of the [CBRN] defense element. You have a very heavy responsibility on your shoulders. We are building a highly professional unit here with the spirit of an operational fighting unit."