In the beginning of October, an international special intervention units anti-terrorism simulation ATHOS 2015 (Allied Terrorism Hindering Operation Simulation) was held in Southern Estonia to practice cooperation and exchange tactical experiences in solving a large-scale hostage crisis.
Estonian Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur said that international cooperation increases the capability of Estonia to react to terrorist threats at any moment. "We need close cooperation with international partners and to practice working together at operations to ensure the capability to react to dangers powerfully, quickly and effectively,” he added.
At the simulation, members of the European Union special intervention units’ cooperation network ATLAS practiced realistic activities and tactics in order to be prepared for a counter-terrorism operation.
The exercise was organized by the Estonian Ministry of the Interior, but led and carried out by the Estonian Internal Security Service, while the Police and Border Guard Board were responsible for the tactical part.
Hannes Perk, the head of K-Comando, which is part of Estonian Criminal Police, said that a special intervention unit is most effective when it works as a close-knit team. “The main goal of the common exercise was to practice the completion of different tasks and cooperation with special intervention units from the most important partner countries of Estonia. An important part of the simulation was to harmonize the specific features and working style of intervention units from different countries, which we have to take into account when solving a real-life case,” Perk said.
Altogether, almost 150 people from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, Germany, France and the US, took part in the simulation carried out in different areas of Southern Estonia. Estonia has been a member of ATLAS network and taken part of joint simulations since 2005. Yet a international security training of such scope took place for the first time in Estonia.
ATLAS cooperation network was founded in 2001 to improve the fight against terrorism and crime. The network is supported and funded by the European Commission. This year’s simulation was a preparation for the large-scale European Union special intervention teams’ simulation, which the Ministry of the Interior also wishes to carry out in Estonia in 2016.
More photos of the exercise here.
Editor: M. Oll