IDF warns reservists to be wary when traveling abroad

Hizbullah, Iran may be targeting officers, army says; advises to avoid routine, like shopping, when overseas.

December 29, 2010 19:48
1 minute read.
Shopping at a supermarket [illustrative]

Supermarket shopping 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

Fearing Hizbullah or Iranian retaliation, the army sent a letter to senior officers in the reserves on Wednesday urging them to take extra security precautions when traveling overseas.

The letter, written by Brig.- Gen. Kobi Barak, head of the IDF Operations Division, said that the background for the warning was the 2008 assassination of Hizbullah military chief Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus, which was attributed to the Mossad, as well as the recent assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Teheran, also attributed to Israel.

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The letter also mentioned the recent publication of the names, addresses and personal details of 200 IDF officers who participated in Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip two years ago, under the claim that they were war criminals.

“We thought it was right to again sharpen the procedures regarding your personal security, as we did last year,” Barak wrote in the letter, sent to the homes of senior IDF officers who recently retired.

Routine, the letter warned, makes people vulnerable and allows an adversary to find “your soft spot.”

“Try not to repeat the same action too many times – the time you do something, and the place,” the letter said: For example, what time the officers leave the house, the routes they take, and the places where they shop.

When traveling overseas, the letter warned, retired officers should pay attention to the airlines they use and the airports at which they land, and ensure that the hotels they choose have been approved by Israeli security officials. The letter also recommended staying on a middle floor at hotels, and in a corner room.

Israel has significantly boosted security for officials traveling overseas in the almost three years since Mughniyeh’s assassination.

During that period, officials from the Defense Ministry who in the past did not have a security detail were accompanied by bodyguards on trips abroad.

In addition, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has warned dozens of businessman that they might be kidnapped during trips overseas.

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