Investigation into Hamas missile attack on bus holds IDF officers responsible

IDF officers have been censured following an army investigation into a Hamas missile attack that left a soldier seriously wounded and could have resulted in mass casualties.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

After concluding an investigation into a Hamas rocket attack on Israeli soldiers near the Gaza border last month, the army will change the way its Gaza Division operates in an emergency situation, the IDF spokesman said on Monday.

Hamas fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF bus during a two-day period in November when the terror group shot some 480 rockets at Israel. Several commanders were reprimanded for their roles in the incident, which left one soldier seriously injured.

Hamas released a film of the incident, which could have led to mass casualties, showing dozens of soldiers alighting from the bus just minutes before the attack. The wounded soldier, Shoval Michael of Ashdod, had not yet disembarked when the Kornet anti-tank guided missile struck the vehicle, setting it completely ablaze.

Ahead of the probe, led by Brig. Gen. Amir Ebstein, commander of the IDF’s Border Defense Array, the wounded soldier’s father asked: “Why was my son there? I don’t understand what they were doing by the border. They took them to the border and lined them up like sitting ducks,” according to Hadashot news.

“The investigation, which was conducted by the Gaza Division, Ground Forces and Southern Command and was presented to the IDF Chief of Staff, found operational failures in how the troops were managed in the field, in terms of command, isolating the area and operational discipline,” the army said in a statement.

As a result, official censures were put in the records of Northern Gaza Regional Brigade commander, the regional battalion commander and two company commanders.

An “updated plan” was formulated in order “to isolate the division’s space in an emergency, which will be fully practiced in the coming weeks.”