Israel using crack Russian snipers in the West Bank – free registration required
Strategy Page has a post today (no permalinks on SP – 9/27 post) about Russian snipers in the Israeli army. No, they’re not part of a multi-national force. They’re immigrants who previously served in the Russian army where sniping is an art.
Immigrants under 28 years old are required to serve in the Israeli military, and many who are older volunteer to do so. Russian snipers undergo instense training, sometimes lasting up to a year. Most have been hardened by experience in Chechnya. They are a welcome addition to the IDF, especially in the West Bank and Gaza.
[An Israeli] security official said they had “more patience” and better technical skills than their counterparts trained in Israel.
Since the Palestinian intifada began three years ago, Israeli snipers have acquired a psychological significance out of proportion to their numbers. They have been crucial to maintaining the siege on Yasser Arafat’s Muqata compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
While searching for info on this subject, I came across this 1997 article on the Jerusalem Post about an immigrant who took over the IDF’s Sniper School. He extended the length of training at the Marksmanship School from two days to seven weeks. The article points out a lot of good things that have been done to improve the shooting skills of Israeli soldiers. Apparently, it hasn’t been enough.