IDF probes botched mission in Gaza

Investigations into the specific incident that left a senior officer dead as well as army protocol will be conducted.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The IDF announced on Tuesday the opening of two investigations dealing with the botched operation in the Gaza Strip on November 11 by its special forces, which claimed the life of Lt. Col. M and seriously wounded another soldier. Seven Hamas terrorists were also killed in the incident.

Military Intelligence will conduct a probe into the raid itself, with initial findings expected to be completed within weeks.

A much broader investigation will be led by former head of IDF Operations Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon. His staff will study the current protocol for such highly specialized operations in general, with conclusions based in part on the debriefing of the soldiers involved in the raid as well as the rescue operation that evacuated them from the Strip.

They will “examine and study the challenges and [make] recommendations at the level of the General Staff, of multiple army branches and of the inter-organizational cooperation between different special forces,” the IDF stated.

According to the Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar, Hamas, convinced that the Israelis were trying to install listening devices in its communications network, is doing its own investigation into the affair. A search was reportedly underway for a certain truck or van supposedly used either by the IDF or by Palestinian collaborators in the raid.

Hamas has distributed “Wanted” fliers at checkpoints throughout Gaza with pictures of eight alleged members of the IDF team, asking for information regarding the men.

Israel’s military censor did not allow the pictures to be published in the country’s media, although they could be found on the internet.  The office also made an unusual plea to the public not to share any knowledge they may have about the operation, however trivial, in order not to “endanger the security of the state.”

The botched mission led to Hamas’s firing of some 450 rockets and mortars at Israel’s south the next day in revenge, causing one death, dozens of mostl- light injuries, and the destruction of several homes and buildings. The Iron Dome protective system shot down about 100 projectiles headed for populated areas, which lessened the damage and saved lives.