It is one of the best special operations forces in the world

Yamam, the Israeli special force that freed four hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas

The big news today is the rescue operation of four hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7.

The impressive video of the assault by the Israeli special unit Yamam on a Hamas redoubt
The successful rescue of hostages by the Shayetet 13, the special force of the Israeli Navy

The freed hostages are Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv, who had been kidnapped by terrorists in their attack on the Nova Musical Festival. These four people have spent 246 days in captivity in Gaza, in the hands of a terrorist organization that has demonstrated unlimited cruelty and sadism. There are still 120 hostages in the hands of Hamas.

This noon, the Israeli Air Force has published some photos of the arrival of two of the hostages, specifically Almog Meir Jan and Andrey Kozlov, aboard a CH-53D Sea Stallion heavy helicopter.

There are some striking details in these photos: all of the helicopter's insignia have been obscured, including Israel's national insignia and signs warning of the proximity of the tail rotor. As you can see, the big yellow V that is usually painted on the side has also been covered up.

Here we can see two photos of the aforementioned hostages, accompanied by soldiers wearing typical equipment of a special operations group.

The Israeli Air Force and the Israel Defense Forces have not indicated which unit these soldiers belong to. At 16:51 CET, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced the sad news of the death of one of the Israeli soldiers who participated in the rescue, Commander Arnon Zamora, noting that "he was seriously injured in the hostage rescue operation this morning, has succumbed to his wounds." Here is the photo of this hero, who from today has a place of honor in the history of Israel.

The aforementioned ministry has indicated that Arnon Zamora belonged to the Yamam unit of the Israel Police, about which I spoke here in December. The Israel Defense Forces have communicated that they have decided to name this rescue "Operation Arnon", in honor of the fallen soldier, of whom they have commented the following:

The late Arnon, a brave and honorable warrior and officer, aged 36, leaves behind a wife and two children. On October 7, he led the battle at the Yad Mordechai crossing, eliminating dozens of terrorists and thus preventing them from infiltrating to the north. After that he continued and fought in the battle at the base of Nahal Oz and Bari. The deceased Arnon was part of a force that broke into the apartment where the kidnapped people who were returned to Israel were located, he was seriously injured during the encounter and died in the hospital.

Yamam is the man by whom the Special Central Unit (YMM) of the Border Guard of the Israel Police is known. It was founded in 1974 and in January 2022 it was declared a national unit of the State of Israel to fight terrorism.

This elite unit is specialized in counterterrorism and hostage rescue. Its operators are recruited from the elite units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). In the selection process, which is one of the most demanding in the world, high interpersonal skills, courage, the ability to work as a team, determination and motivation are valued, according to reports the Israel Police.

Yamam is considered one of the best special operations groups in the world, at the level of DEVGRU, the tier one group of the United States Navy SEALs. In addition to the Yamam, the Israel Police also has three other special units: the Yamas, the Samag and the Matilan.

The founding of the Yamam took place after the Ma'alot massacre on May 14 and 15, 1974, in which three terrorists from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (FDLP) kidnapped 115 Israeli citizens at the Netiv Meir primary school, including 105 children. On that occasion, the most famous elite unit of the IDF, the Sayeret Matkal, took charge of the rescue. The terrorists murdered 25 hostages, 22 of them children.

Unlike Israel Police officers, Yamam operators wear military uniforms like those worn by the IDF, with which they work very regularly.

Among the weapons used by the Yamam we must highlight the M-4A1 rifles, the IWI Arad and the IWI Negev SF "Commando" (all of them caliber 5.56 mm), Glock 17 and Glock pistols 19 of 9mm Parabellum, M-203 40mm grenade launcher, as well as SR-25, PGM Ultima Ratio, Barrett M82 and M-24 precision rifles.


Photos: Israel Police / Israeli Air Force / Israel Foreign Ministry.

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