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UAE swat team competing during the Dubai Swat Challenge at Dubai on 10 FEB 2020 photo; Atiq Ur Rehman /Gulf News

DUBAI: The SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team prepared to storm a tower with a sniper to provide cover and entered a building where a group of terrorists had taken someone hostage.

The team broke into the tower and climbed down while shots were fired and commanders shouted out to cross the finish line.

This simulation was played out at the Dubai Police’s Al Ruwaiyah Training Centre off Emirates Road as SWAT commandos from 26 countries showed off their tactical and physical skills in five tasks representing different scenarios.

The five-day event that ran from February 9 to 13 featured 46 teams participating across five categories that tested the skills of special armed response units from around the world. They staged mock hostage rescues, raids, rescuing injured officers, taking the tower challenge and overcoming obstacle courses in a bid to be crowned the most competent force.

Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Commander-In-Chief at Dubai Police, said that this year’s challenge was intense.

“It is a great event as police forces from around the world showed their tactical skills. Teams were well prepared and arrived early. It was a strong challenge and very close in team points,” Major General Al Merri told Gulf News.

Due to the large degree of interest and benefits from the competition, the challenge will be an annual event.

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UAE swat team competing during the Dubai Swat Challenge at Dubai on 10 FEB 2020 photo; Atiq Ur Rehman /Gulf News

“It’s not about winning but about building bonds between law enforcement units in the world,” Major General Al Merri added.

Meanwhile, Colonel Musabah Saeed Al Ghafli, general coordinator of the challenge, said that teams who participated last year in the challenge, decided to return for the competition. “Last year, they were testing the challenge but this year, all teams came to win. All teams have strong tactical skills and great physical fitness,” Col Al Ghafli said.

Captain Christian Jmenez, commander of Chile’s team said that he has been a SWAT member for 11 years and everyday, he has missions to arrest drug dealers and rescue hostages.

“This challenge is of a world-class standard. It’s very tough,” Jmenez told Gulf News.

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Netherlands swat team competing during the Dubai Swat Challenge at Dubai on 10 FEB 2020 photo; Atiq Ur Rehman /Gulf News

Dubai Police team won the title on Thursday scoring 198 points with the Russian team coming in second with 193 points while Belarus’s Super Team came third with 185 points.

The UAE Swat Challenge is being held under the patronage of His Highness Lt General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

Cash prizes of $170,000 (Dh624,413) were given out during the event, including a prize of $10,000 for the top three teams each day.

What is a SWAT team?
SWAT team is an elite unit within a police force, used for exceptional situations that require more firepower or specialised tactics. The officers in a SWAT unit undergo special training and have access to a variety of weaponry, armour and surveillance devices beyond the standard-issue police gear.