IDF apologizes for drill simulating kidnapping of Palestinians by settlers

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi apologizes for a drill the military carried out yesterday, in which troops simulated a kidnapping attack carried out by settlers in the West Bank.

“The IDF fights in all arenas, and in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], forces face brutal terrorism in a complex environment. The exercise carried out yesterday was designed to prepare the forces to deal with a wide variety of scenarios, with the aim of improving their readiness,” Halevi says during a visit to the Gaza Strip today.

“However, the scenario in question should not have been practiced and is an error,” Halevi says.

“We will investigate and learn, and we are sorry to anyone who was hurt by this,” he continues.

He says troops in the West Bank, led by Central Command chief Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox, “work around the clock while risking their lives for the security of the residents.”

Halevi’s remarks come following harsh criticism by far-right lawmakers and activists against the drill they described as “unrealistic,” despite such acts by Jewish extremists occurring in the past, most notably the kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir in 2014.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded an IDF probe into the exercise.

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