Two drug smugglings were thwarted last week along the Egypt-Israel border by observers and fighters from the Paran Brigade. This was not the first successful mission for this skilled unit of female soldiers. Read on to explore the story of these resilient defenders of peace.
The backdrop of the desert landscape and the system fence that stretches for long miles may mislead us. While this is a border of peace, the silence on the Egyptian border is not always naturally maintained. On a daily basis, the observers and fighters of the Paran Brigade work hard to maintain the status quo and to ensure that the residents of the area can live in safety.
Last week, two drug smuggling operations from Egypt to Israel were thwarted in the sector which were valued at several million shekels each.
Their mission, which has already become quite legendary among Israel’s forces, the observers identified the potential smuggling point according to the “indicative signs” model, positioned their operatives in an ambush and aimed them straight into line of fire.
The observers of the Paran Brigade sit and analyze the area for four consecutive hours at a time, and until the next shift they have an eight-hour rest. “They work very hard, but that’s how they know almost every shepherd or farmer in the area so well – it’s a critical persistence that is felt and appreciated,” said Lieutenant Dafna Lipsky proudly.
In the past year, there has been an increase in the number of violent smugglings through the perimeter fence that resulted in shootouts with local security forces. “Recently, we were shot at in one of these reoccurring ambushes in Nitzana. I actually felt the impact of bits of minerals from the exploding sands around me,” recalled Sergeant Bar Nissim.
Lieutenant Lipsky proudly stands by her unit’s mission: “We must broadcast a strong presence here constantly. It is neccasary in order to prevent the day when there may not only be drugs in these smuggled bags but weapons too.”
“I have heard of so many smugglers who got caught up in the profession for reasons beyond their control,” said Nissim, “but in the end it is smuggling. When people approach our borders illegally, we really do not initially know if they are crossing in hopes of leading a better life or because of nefarious reasons, like in order to smuggle in drugs or weapons. That is why we treat all who try to infiltrate the border as hostile.”
Paran Brigade battalion personnel are often stationed at Israel’s borders for long stretches of time. On a regular basis, they carry out patrols, ambushes and proactive actions to prevent any smuggling from taking place. In fact, in 2020 alone they have thwarted over sixty attempts to infiltrate the country. “It is not easy to catch a criminal in this inhospitable desert,” explains Nissim, “whether it is on a frozen night or during a boiling day, this place is never easy to man. It is plain, bleak, and often uneventful, but it we continue to patrol these sands knowing the importance of the role we play in protecting our home.”