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The Border Guard Units ("Yechidot Mishmar Hagvul" in Hebrew) or YAMAG, was the collective name for several tactical detective units formed in late 1990's to combat crime. These units were disbanded in recent years.

Following the increase in crime levels in Israel during the 1990's, MAGAV was called upon to create a new breed of tactical units that would bridge the gap between YAMAM the riots controls units (SAMAG and YASAM). The result was YAMAG. These new units were to conduct their own independent operations in crime infected regions and provide tactical anti crime and riot control assistance to conventional police units as needed. This new breed of units could also act as Engagement Units that can provide first response in hostage rescue situations until YAMAM arrives to the scene.

YAMAG key roles were:

  • Fighting severe crime - drugs, guns, car thefts and property

  • Tactical assistance to conventional police units

  • Intelligence gathering in support of both counter crime and terror activities

  • Agricultural theft prevention in Israel's rural areas

  • Detect and arrest illegal aliens from Jordan and the Palestinian Authority

  • Counter terror and hostage rescue first responders


During the late 1990's MAGAV formed a large number of YAMAG units. Each unit was assigned to a regional MAGAV district. While the units largely share similar roles and capabilities, they are differentiated by their urban and rural orientation. As they were assigned to a specific area, the operators quickly became intimately familiar with the region, allowing them to operate more effectively.

Urban YAMAG Units

  • YAMAG Alon | Northern District

  • YAMAG T'zabar | Central District

  • YAMAG Barak | Tel-Aviv District

  • YAMAG Lavy | Jerusalem District

  • YAMAG Rotem | Southern District

Rural YAMAG Units

  • YAMAG Erez | Northern District

  • YAMAG Almog | Central District

  • YAMAG Dekel | Southern District


YAMAG were versatile outfits considered as tactical detectives teams. The units focused on property (car theft, agricultural equipment) and drug related crimes as well as on counter terrorism.

The units deployed in plain clothes and conduct intelligence gathering and surveillance. Uniformed YAMAG teams would then conducts raids and arrests. Part from their plain cloths deployment, the units also conducted overt uniformed patrols in crime infected areas to deter criminals and demonstrate strong police presence, as well as to deter suicide bombers and protect sensitive areas such as tourism destinations.

The units acted either independently or with regular police units, providing intelligence gathering and surveillance support. Unlike typical police detectives teams, YAMAG were fully tactical capable outfits and could be engaged in SWAT like duties such as high risk arrests and searches. The units typically deployed tactically as part of their own operations, but provided tactical assistance in to police units when required.

YAMAG also responded to severe public disturbances situations, such as violent riots control, supporting MAGAV SAMAG and the Israeli Police YASAM.

Finally, YAMAG functioned as civilian Engagement Units, acting as first responders to hostage rescue situations, whether the kidnappers are criminals, emotionally disturbed individuals or terrorists.


YAMAG were comprised of both mandatory service personnel and career operators, who were often veterans of MAGAV other SF units - MATILAN, YAMAM and YAMAS.

Due to their unique nature as hybrid crime and terror fighting units, YAMAG training merged tactical techniques with classic police work, such as intelligence and investigations. Once passed selection and accepted to YAMAG, operators received a 13-weeks specialized raining consisting of:

  • Two weeks physical fitness training.

  • Five weeks YAMAG course, covering combat tactics. A special focus is placed on firing from moving vehicles such as cars and motorcycles.

  • Five weeks basic detective course.

  • One week surveillance and intelligence gathering course.

Following successful training completion, operators were assigned to a specific YAMAG unit and received additional inner-unit training based on their unit's region and intended role.

Units Guide