For the second consecutive year, a team from Israel's Counterterrorism unit has taken first place in an international competition testing homeland security and readiness to respond to acts of terror.
The team swept the prestigious "Urban Shield" competition, held last week in California in the framework of a national emergency drill organized by the U.S. Homeland Security Office.
During the internationally acclaimed competition, combat teams were tested in a variety of anti-terrorist, extreme crime, hostage rescue, and tactical combat scenarios. An FBI team and a team of royal Jordanian guards were also among the participants.
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The national emergency drill was created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, with the aim of testing the preparedness of emergency services and anti-terrorist units should another terrorist attack occur.
Although this marked the competition's sixth consecutive year, Israel only began participating two years ago. It has now taken first place in both attempts.
Israel's Counterterrorism Unit is an elite unit in the Border Police, comparable to such global crime-fighting groups as U.S. SWAT teams, the French GIGN, and the German GSG-9, which was established after 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were murdered at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich.
The Counterterrorism Unit is tasked with handling a number of security and civilian-related situations, and its members are trained in various types of drills and simulations -- some secret -- mainly focusing on terrorist attacks and hostage crisis situations.
The Counterterrorism Unit is one of Israel's most in-demand security units. Its members take on complex and dangerous missions, sometimes working in tandem with the Internal Security Agency. They arrest crime bosses and take on missions in some of the nation's most high-risk areas. The unit employs advanced hi-tech equipment and unique methods of operation, some of which were developed especially for the unit.
In September, the same Israeli team won first place in a handgun shooting competition for special IDF and police units. Other participants in that competition were the National Police Undercover Unit, the Border Police Undercover Unit, and several elite IDF units.
Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino congratulated the Counterterrorism Unit on winning the international competition.
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