Shayetet 13

Shayetet 13

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Shayetet 13

caption=S'13 Insignia
dates= 1948–Present
branch= Israeli Sea Corps
type= Naval Commando
nickname=השייטת (HaShayetet, "The Flotilla")

Shayetet 13 ( _he. שייטת 13, "lit." Flotilla 13) is the Israel Defense Forces naval Special forces unit. The unit (S'13) is considered one of the top-three SF units in Israel (along with Sayeret Matkal - the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit - and Shaldag Unit - the Air Force commando unit). S'13 is the unit that specializes in maritime hostage rescue and counter-terrorist missionsCite web
accessdate = 2007-12-04
url =
] . Only a handful of Shayetet 13 missions have been publicized or otherwise missions publicly attributed to the unit.


S'13 is one of the most veteran Israeli SF units. It was formed in 1949 by Yohai Ben-Nun and was based upon the Naval Brigade of the Haganah — the Jewish resistance movement during the British Mandate in Palestine. In the unit's early years, there was a debate in the IDF regarding the need for such a unit so S'13 was small and with low budget. In 1960, S'13 existence was first made public and its operators received their renowned bat-winged insignia rather than a general Israeli Navy insignia worn until then.

Combat history

The Six Day War

The breakout of the Israeli-Arab Six Day War in 1967 found the unit undertrained. Several of the unit's missions during the war failed, the most noticeable one was on 1967-05-06, when six operators were captured and taken as POW during a covert mission. S'13 POWs were released more than six months later in January 1968Cite web
title = - The Israeli Special Forces & Special Operations (Sayeret) Database
accessdate = 2007-12-04
url =
] .

The War of Attrition

In 1969, the unit received another blow as three operators were killed and ten more were badly injured during the Green Island raid. In the 1970s the unit had undergone rebuilding with more focus placed on sea-to-land incursions and on effective training. More issues rose with other IDF SF units, which at the time suggested that that S'13 should only provide the transportation to the target and assistance in crossing water obstacles, while leaving the surface warfare to the other IDF SF units.

Operation Spring of Youth

S'13 took part in Operation Spring of Youth of 1973 in which Israeli SF raided Beirut secretly overnight and killed some of the members of Black September, which had carried out the Munich Massacre of Israeli athletes in the Munich 1972 Summer OlympicsCite web
title = Shayetet 13: Encyclopedia II - Shayetet 13 - History
accessdate = 2007-12-04
url =
] Cite web
last = Geller
first = Doron
title = Operation Spring of Youth
accessdate = 2007-12-07
url =
] .

Lebanon war

From the early 1980s, the unit became increasingly involved in the Lebanon conflict, demonstrating an excellent track record of dozens of successful operations each year, without casualties. Typical missions at the time were interdiction of terrorists' vessels, blowing up enemy headquarters and key facilities, conducting ambushes and planting explosives in terrorist routes. On September 8, 1997, the unit suffered a major blow during a raid in Lebanon, when it was caught in a Hezbollah ambush and 11 of its soldiers were killed, including the unit commander.

The al-Aqsa Intifada

During the al-Aqsa Intifada, S'13 soldiers were not limited to naval operations and took part in ground counter terror operations deep within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. S'13 has performed hundreds of operations, including the arrest and/or killing of many militants of the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.S'13 still performs naval operations. It earned high acclaim due to the capture of three Palestinian ships which smuggled illegal weapons: Karin A, Santorini and Abu-Yusuf. The takeover of Karin A in particular was considered a highly difficult operation and it was conducted flawlessly.In 2002 and in 2003, S'13 won the Chief-of-Staff award for successful counter terror operationsCite web
title = Shayetet 13: Encyclopedia II - Shayetet 13 - Current Status
accessdate = 2007-12-04
url =
] .

The Second Lebanon War

During the 2006 Lebanon War, S'13 raided Tyre [Cite news
title = Israeli commandos stage Tyre raid
work = BBC
accessdate = 2007-12-04
date = 2006-08-05
url =
] .


In recent years, it was discovered that S'13 veterans had high occurrence of cancer, probably due to training in the polluted Kishon River and Haifa Bay. A commission for investigating the matter did not find statistical evidence that the diving in the Kishon caused the cancer. However, Minister of Defence, Shaul Mofaz, decided to compensate the divers' families in spite of the commissions' findings.


External links

* Cite video
people = mikeytwo (Contributor)
title = Shayetet-13 assault on Tyre, Lebanon.
accessdate = 2007-12-07
date = 2006-08-05
time = 99 seconds
url =

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