Israel's Counter-terrorism Police to Operate "Anywhere the Government of Israel Sees Fit"

Israel's Yamam -- a Hebrew acronym for: Special Police Unit -- has been authorized to carry out operations beyond the nation's borders. According to Haaretz, the special police unit will be expanded in size -- by an extra company -- and will also be ordered to carry out operations "anywhere the government of Israel sees fit."

In a recent ceremony commemorating Yamam's 40-year existence, Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Yamam's fighters operate in the shadows, but they bring a great deal of light to Israel's citizens." Haaretz reported that Netanyahu began plans to expand Yamam's mandate back in January of this year. Yamam has conducted operations inside of Palestinian territory in the past, but will now have the power to not only operate anywhere in the world, but to also take command over military units when conducting certain "sensitive" operations.

Yamam's "warriors" are a division of the Israel Border Police and specialize in conducting hostage-rescue operations and "offensive take-over raids against targets in civilian areas." They also conduct undercover police work, though the Israeli media has not disclosed whether Yamam will also be authorized to carry out undercover police work outside of the country.

In essence, Yamam, a once-civilian police force, is now being given primary power in many of Israel's foreign counter-terrorism operations. The unit is known in Israel for its secrecy, with even the identity of its top officer clouded in mystery; he is only identified by Haaretz as "Brigadier General S."

During this summer's assault on Gaza, Yamam's units were stationed at the border in anticipation of a potential operation by Hamas fighters. Over the past years, Yamam has been deployed at the Jenin refugee camp, and under the command of the Shin Bet -- Israel's internal security agency -- the unit killed scores of "terrorists" during the Second Intifada in territory classified as Area A by the Oslo Accords.
Though Netanyahu ordered Yamam and the National Security Council to begin drafting plans for international operations back in January, the announcement today coincided with the top three Israeli newspapers issuing a travel warning that ISIL's next plan is to attack Israelis.

Even the Times of Israel admitted: "Coincidentally or not, Haaretz has an article that may make travelers feel a bit reassured this holiday season: the Israeli SWAT team can now operate abroad."