Two officers dismissed over Gaza terrorist breach

Two officers dismissed over Gaza terrorist breach

Investigation finds several soldiers, at various levels of command, failed in their duties during infiltration

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The Israeli border fence with Gaza (David Buimovitch/Flash90)
The Israeli border fence with Gaza (David Buimovitch/Flash90)

An IDF investigation into how a lone terrorist from the Gaza Strip, armed with a grenade, managed to cross the border into Israel unchallenged, ended on Thursday with two officers being dismissed from their posts and several other soldiers being disciplined.

The inquiry, led by Southern Region Commander Major General Shlomo Turgeman, found that although forces were alerted when the terrorist climbed over the Gaza border fence early Sunday, an IDF patrol was scrambled to the wrong location and failed to find him.

The deputy company commander of an infantry unit and a female operations officer in the command center were both dismissed from their posts.

In addition, a disciplinary note was entered into the record of the battalion commander of the infantry unit involved, and the company commander was reprimanded as well as having his future promotions delayed. An unspecified number of non-commissioned soldiers who manned the command center on the night of the breach were to receive disciplinary hearings, as were a scout and a surveillance soldier.

The incident occurred in the Eshkol region, adjacent to the southern Gaza Strip. After scaling the fence in the middle of the night a Palestinian man, armed with a hand grenade, walked five kilometers through Israeli territory before finally being safely apprehended by a civilian security officer near Moshav Yated.

IDF officials believe the man acted alone and was not sent by a terrorist organization.

Meanwhile Thursday, security forces arrested a Hamas operative on suspicion that he had shot at a Border Police checkpoint and attempted to run over soldiers near Bethlehem, in two separate attacks last week. There were no injuries in either incident.

IDF soldiers found a pistol and ammunition in the suspect’s home.

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