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New IDF intelligence unit, Branch 54, prepares for possible war against Iran

Purpose of the unit represents a significant change in mindset and strategy

Illustrative image: Israel Defense Forces intelligence unit (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

A new IDF intelligence unit, Branch 54, which currently consists of only 30 soldiers, is preparing for potential war with Iran, specifically with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

In recent years, Iran has become emboldened against Israel, launching at least 10 drones toward the Jewish state, most recently in April over the Hula Valley in northern Israel. The IRGC’s Quds Force has also sought to attack Israel Defense Forces troops and sent terrorists abroad to target Israeli tourists, especially in Turkey.

Officers, speaking with anonymity, explained that the purpose of the unit represents a significant change in mindset.

“This is a significant mindset change that the IDF is required to make. It is not similar to a war against Hezbollah or an operation in Gaza against Hamas or Islamic Jihad," explained Lt.-Col. T, the head of Branch 54’s research department, “It is like briefing a senior commander in the IDF who trains all day for war in Lebanon or Gaza and telling him that this time it is entirely different from what he has known until now.”

Colonel T also explained that the new unit will be responsible for strategizing a war against Iran.

“We are responsible for providing the military with the knowledge infrastructure regarding Iranian military capabilities and strategic systems under their control. We are engaged in researching the elements of control in Iran from the senior level down to the operators at the frontlines.”

The new Branch 54 unit will be “the first focal point in the IDF's preparations for a scenario of wide and overt military confrontation with the Iranian military. In general, the branch focuses on intelligence learning, similar to the preparations for up-to-date intelligence-based training for combat with Hezbollah and Hamas. One of the departments within the branch is considered operative, collecting intelligence on the regular army of the IRGC,” according to Ynet News.

The unit also has a target department to analyze potential targets inside Iran should Israel need to strike.

“We analyze the IRGC specifically within Iran, not the Quds Force,” Lt.-Col. Y, who leads the target department, explained.

“Iran is a very large country in terms of territory, and they know there will be consequences to our operations within their territory – but it's a mutual game of exposure,” the colonel added.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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