IDF report finds failure to follow guidelines led to Hezbollah’s September missile strike

The almost-successful missile attack in September was due to multiple failures to follow military guidelines.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A two-month IDF investigation of the close-call in which Hezbollah fired a Kornet anti-tank missile at an armored Israeli ambulance along the Israel-Lebanon border on September 1 has led to reprimands, but no dismissals, for the commanders in charge of the area.

At the time, the IDF was on high alert, expecting a Hezbollah retaliation for an alleged Israeli airstrike that had destroyed equipment in Beirut that the terror organization was using to try to turn its rockets into precision missiles.

Defensive military preparations included the blocking of roads in the north, to make “it difficult for the enemy to identify and hit targets over the course of many days,” according to Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman in The Jerusalem Post report.

Yet on September 1, an IDF ambulance was allowed to travel on one of the roads, and Hezbollah operatives shot a Kornet missile at it, narrowly missing the vehicle and the five soldiers inside it.

The military report, which was presented to IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, stated that “despite instructions from his commanders, the deputy battalion commander had approved the movement of the specific military vehicle on the prohibited axis.

“In addition, the inquiry indicates that the regional brigade conducted insufficient monitoring and supervision over the movement on the roads.”

As Zilberman put it, “The ambulance being there was a major operational mistake.”

Even though the infractions almost led to the loss of five lives, which would certainly have led to a further escalation in tensions, if not outright fighting between the IDF and Hezbollah, the chief of staff decided on a series of minor punishments.

Kochavi reprimanded the deputy battalion commander and the commander of the regional brigade. Officers in the attached artillery battalion were summoned to their own commanders for “clarifications.”

The IDF explained that the relatively light punishments were due to Kochavi’s opinion that “in operational activities, the attitude toward mistakes should be eased compared to during routine [activities since] during operational activity in general, and under fire in particular, there is room to consider the duress” the commanders are under and the specific situation they are in.

This case falls under the category of “operational activity not under fire.”

The IDF reports that Kochavi has put new criteria in place that will guide how the Army is to react to mistakes in three situations: routine, operations and under fire.