IDF officers suspended after guns were abandoned in stabbing attack
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IDF officers suspended after guns were abandoned in stabbing attack

Two soldiers were lightly wounded, their firearms left behind during attack last week by Palestinian assailants in northern West Bank

Illustrative: Soldiers patrolling near Nablus. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit/Flash90)
Illustrative: Soldiers patrolling near Nablus. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces has suspended or fired three commanders of an infantry unit over last Wednesday’s stabbing attack in the northern West Bank settlement of Har Bracha.

Two soldiers were lightly injured in the attack by two Palestinian assailants, which took place after 7 p.m. at the guard booth outside the main entrance to the settlement, which is located south of Nablus.

After stabbing the soldiers, the attackers escaped the scene. Troops launched a manhunt and area residents were told to stay in their homes.

The weapons, which the soldiers had left by the side of the booth, contrary to orders, were initially believed to have been stolen, prompting panic.

They were later found abandoned near the site of the attack.

Col. Guy Hazut, who commands the Kfir Brigade to which the injured soldiers’ company belongs, oversaw the investigation into the incident.

The investigation found “severe shortcomings” in the soldiers’ implementation of orders while on guard duty, including failing to keep possession of their firearms at all times.

Brig. Gen. Oren Avman, head of Division 340 and Hazut’s direct superior, accepted Hazut’s recommendation on Sunday evening to suspend the company commander from command positions for one year, and remove the platoon’s lieutenant and sergeant from their positions entirely.

Avman delayed any ruling in the case of the two wounded soldiers until their injuries heal and they return to their unit.

Twenty-nine Israelis and three foreign nationals have been killed in a wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence since October. Some 180 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.

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