Soldier killed, three wounded by accidental grenade blast at Jordan Valley base

Initial probe of explosion at Kfir Brigade training base in West Bank suggests munition brought into living quarters against protocols; slain soldier named as Cpl. Denis Zinoviev

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

Cpl. Denis Zinoviev, 18, killed in an accidental grenade explosion at a base in the Jordan Valley on January 14, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
Cpl. Denis Zinoviev, 18, killed in an accidental grenade explosion at a base in the Jordan Valley on January 14, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

An Israeli soldier was killed and another three wounded after a grenade accidentally exploded late Saturday night at a military training base in the Jordan Valley, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The incident occurred at around midnight between Saturday and Sunday in the living quarters of the Kfir Brigade training base in the Jordan Valley, close to the settlement of Ro’i.

The soldier — later named as 18-year-old Denis Zinoviev — was declared dead at the scene following resuscitation efforts.

Zinoviev, a new recruit from the central city of Petah Tikvah, was posthumously promoted to the rank of corporal.

The other three wounded soldiers were taken to hospitals for treatment. One was listed in serious condition, and the other two were described as having minor injuries from the grenade blast.

The IDF initially barred publication of the fact that the deadly incident occurred until the families of soldiers had been notified.

Military Police launched an investigation into the incident, the findings of which will be given to military prosecutors to determine if criminal charges are warranted.

According to an initial probe, one soldier brought a grenade he found during a training exercise back to the base and kept it in his bag — in an apparent violation of IDF protocol — where it later exploded.

The grenade is designed to be launched from an M-203 grenade launcher, mounted under the barrel of an assault rifle.

It was unclear what exactly had set off the munition, but the probe suggested it may have happened after the bag was moved.

The IDF said it would temporarily halt training exercises to search for more unexploded ordnance near training bases.

Illustrative: Soldiers are seen at the Kfir Brigade training base, in the Northern Jordan Valley. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

In addition to the Military Police investigation, the chief of the IDF Ground Forces, Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai, ordered the establishment of a panel of experts, headed by Col. Hanoch Dauba, to investigate the circumstances of the deadly incident.

Six soldiers were killed in work or training accidents in 2022, and another soldier was killed in early January by a suspected accidental discharge from a comrade’s weapon.

Saturday’s incident came days after an Israeli soldier was moderately injured in an apparent training accident in southern Israel. According to the IDF, the soldier was shot during a military exercise on Wednesday at the Tzeelim base in the Negev desert.

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