Soldiers censured for failing to act during Gaza border attack that injured 3
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Soldiers censured for failing to act during Gaza border attack that injured 3

Investigation finds servicemen did not intervene when gunman opened fire; four troops suspended from duties

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Troops secure communities in Gaza border area, August 1, 2019 (Israel Defense Forces)
Troops secure communities in Gaza border area, August 1, 2019 (Israel Defense Forces)

Four soldiers were suspended from their positions Monday after an investigation found that they did not attempt to stop a Palestinian gunman who entered Israel from the Gaza Strip and shot and injured three servicemen earlier this month, the army said.

During the August 1 cross-border attack, the Hamas terrorist breached the security fence and opened fire as troops arrived at the scene.

An officer and two soldiers were hit by gunfire, sustaining moderate-to-light wounds, the Israel Defense Forces said at the time. The gunman was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers.

An investigation into the exchange, which was completed Monday, found that a group of four soldiers — three infantrymen from the Golani Brigade and a driver — called to the scene “did not enter the combat zone,” the army said in a statement.

“Following an investigation, Golani Brigade commander Col. Shai Klapper decided to suspend the squad leader and two soldiers from combat and from command for not acting as expected during an operational event,” the IDF said.

The driver from the Southern Gaza Brigade was also suspended from his position, the military said.

Recent weeks have seen several serious infiltration attempts into Israel.

On Saturday night, five armed Palestinians attempted to breach the Gaza security fence, the army said. An attack helicopter and a tank opened fire on the suspected terrorists. According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, three of the men were killed and a fourth was injured. There was no official comment from the Strip on the fifth terrorist.

Hamas and other terror groups in the Strip have blamed these infiltration attempts on “rebellious youth,” in an apparent effort to distance themselves from the incidents and avoid direct conflict with Israel.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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