2 officers dismissed from elite army unit after training accidents

2 officers dismissed from elite army unit after training accidents

After 2 Maglan soldiers injured in separate incidents, IDF says it is ‘unacceptable and unprofessional to unnecessarily endanger’ troops during training

Illustrative: The elite Maglan IDF unit. (Screen capture: Channel 10)
Illustrative: The elite Maglan IDF unit. (Screen capture: Channel 10)

The Israel Defense Forces announced on Monday the dismissal of two officers from an elite commando unit following a pair of recent training accidents in which soldiers were injured.

Additionally, the commander of the platoon in which the officers served was reprimanded, the IDF said in a statement summarizing the investigation into the incidents led by Brig. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, head of the 98th Paratroopers Division.

In one of the instances, a soldier from the Maglan unit was seriously injured during a training exercise while jumping from a moving vehicle into a thorn bush, according to the army.

The soldier’s commander, who the army named only as First Lieutenant Y., was removed as a result of the incident. Finkelman also ordered a halt to all training exercises in the Commando Brigade until the investigation’s recommendations are implemented and the unit’s training files are reviewed.

“The division commander determined this action was improper, unprofessional, immoral, dangerous and unnecessary,” the IDF said.

Illustrative: Soldiers take part in Krav Maga training at the Regavim base on April 19, 2016. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)

In the second incident a soldier was moderately wounded during Krav Maga exercises but did not receive medical treatment immediately after. The army said the injury occurred during a Krav Maga demonstration in which protective equipment was not used.

The IDF said the soldier’s commander, First Lieutenant G., was removed for “acting erroneously during the [Krav Maga] training and acted negligently by not sending the soldier for treatment.”

Krav Maga exercises have been put on hold in the Commando Brigade until commanders and instructors undergo a “refresher” of the training commands, the army said. New mechanisms for oversight and approval of Krav Maga training in the brigade will also be introduced, the IDF added.

The army said the findings of the investigation would be given to the Military Advocate General to decide whether to open a Military Police investigation. It also said commanders were in touch with the families of the injured soldiers.

“The IDF takes risks in the face of the enemy as required to fulfill its operational duties,” the army said. “It is unacceptable and unprofessional to unnecessarily endanger soldiers during training and routine activities.”

Parents of soldiers in the unit claimed to the Ynet news site earlier this week that routine training for the soldiers regularly crossed the threshold into violence. They also complained of the secrecy surrounding the activities of the unit, and said they relied on the officers and commanders to keep their children safe.

Maglan is a special elite unit that operates behind enemy lines. The unit’s 18 months of training is among the most strenuous in the IDF.

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