Northern Command halts all exercises after tank flips during training

None injured as Merkava turns over during a drill; Maj. Gen. Amir Baram calls for full investigation into the incident

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Soldiers inspect an IDF tank that flipped over during an exercise in northern Israel on December 9, 2019. (Courtesy)
Soldiers inspect an IDF tank that flipped over during an exercise in northern Israel on December 9, 2019. (Courtesy)

The head of the IDF Northern Command on Monday ordered a halt to all exercises, following a training accident earlier in the day in which a tank flipped over.

There were no injuries in the accident, in which a Merkava tank turned over, falling into a heavily wooded ditch, during a rainy, foggy training session in northern Israel.

The crew, from the 188th Armored Brigade, was pulled from the tank unscathed, the army said.

The military quickly launched an investigation into the incident. IDF Northern Command chief Maj. Gen. Amir Baram halted all exercises in his region until the initial findings of the probe are presented.

“In addition, he ordered the lessons of the incident be shared to all units,” the military said in a statement.

Lieutenant Avshalom Armoni, one of two IDF soldiers killed in a training accident on September 26, 2017. (courtesy)

In September 2017, two IDF soldiers — Lt. Avshalom Armoni and Sgt. Avinoam Cohen — were killed, and four more were injured, when a self-propelled howitzer in which they were traveling flipped over, during a late-night training exercise in the Golan Heights, the army said.

As a result of the accident, the military postponed several exercises and temporarily banned soldiers from driving mobile cannons after dark.

On Sunday, during another training exercise in northern Israel, a soldier was seriously injured when he was struck by lightning.

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