Going into some of the most dangerous parts of the West Bank is often a surreal experience. It can be dangerous, it can be eye opening, it can be frustrating and more often than not all of the above.
The IDF operates under a lot of stress. On the one hand they are trying to deal with some of the worst terrorists in the world and their constant trying to infiltrate Israel in order to blow themselves in school buses, schools, shopping malls and cafes, on the other hand they want to help maintain peace in the area and allow those that do not engage in terrorism to live their lives. The terrorists play with this and often use innocent civilians as a way to try to infiltrate through a checkpoint.
Sometimes the intelligence guys provide solid intel and some of the worst case scenarios are stopped before they are put into play. This means going into the buildings and chasing those individuals or groups.
In one occasion we were pulling security over a building providing support for another operation when a goatherd and 15 goats appeared on our AO. There wasn’t anything wrong with that, goats were semi-normal in that area and after a quick scan we focused back on the building we were surveilling.
A couple of minutes later we noticed that instead of continuing with their daily walk, the goats were being moved in circled closer and closer to the building were the operation was about to take place. We focused on the goats again and that’s when I saw it. One of the goats was dragging what appear to be a dead goat. We missed it initially because the animals were being moved very close to each other. But there it was. I called one of the other guys and with a spotter’s scope he confirmed that there was something like a dead goat being dragged by another goat.
We called the op commander and described what we were seeing. He in turn called one of the guys on the street, about to go into the building, and requested a closer look – we were posted about 300 meters from the location. This guy called us on out comms and we walked him through the maze of streets to where the goats were. He appears about 100 meters from the herd. As soon as he trained his binos he called on the radio “shoot the fucker, it’s a fucking bomb!” and started running back to where the guys were slowly walking toward the building. The commander asked for more info and as he was running he told him (and us) that he saw what it appears to be a bunch of tan colored packages attached to the dead goat.
After a few minutes the commanding officer told us over the radio to shoot the dead goat.
Alright then, shooting the dead goat it is.
While one of the guys took aim we kept on scanning the area for civilians. The goatherd by then was out of site so I touch the shooter’s shoulder and he squeezed the trigger. The M24 suppressed whispered the bullet and all the sudden a huge explosion shook us all. When we were able to see again, we noticed that most goats were obliterated and there was a massive crater in the street and surrounding buildings.
When the bomb tech finally got to the area, after the op was aborted, they discovered that at least half of those goats were packing explosives. Those sob terrorists were trying to blow the soldiers using goats.
Anyone for goat cheese?