Men interrupt training drill involving 10 IDF units by entering into closed zone

The illegal entrance of the men and their tractor directly into the fire zone forced the IDF units to immediately halt the drill, which had involved heavy weaponry.

July 26, 2015 18:44
1 minute read.

An IDF artillery unit participates in a war drill this week in the Jordan Valley. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The Southern District Attorney’s Office on Sunday filed an indictment against Suleiman Abu Karon for illegally entering a closed military zone at the IDF’s sprawling Tze’elim Base in the South, bringing 10 units to halt in the midst of a major exercise.

According to the indictment, filed with the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court, Abu Karon, 40, from Beir Hadaag, entered the closed zone at 10 a.m. on July 21 on a red tractor lacking proper license plates. He and an unidentified accomplice had their faces covered by ski masks.

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The indictment alleges that by entering the firing zone, the IDF units were forced to order an immediate cessation of the drill, which involved heavy weaponry, including tanks.

Following their discovery by a special reconnaissance unit and their attempt to flee, Abu Karon was apprehended by a police helicopter following an extended chase.

The reconnaissance unit and special aerial units were on high alert along the perimeter around the firing zone in order to keep bystanders away.

There is no mention in the indictment about what happened to the second man.

In a separate motion regarding the case, the state noted the circumstances surrounding the incident and, referring to similar incidents, suggested that the two had infiltrated the area looking for metal objects, many of them spent shell casings and cartridges, to steal and sell as scrap.

Abu Karon was charged with illegally entering a closed military zone, interfering with a policeman by trying to resist arrest, changing the identification of a vehicle and using a vehicle to perpetrate a misdemeanor.

Although none of these charges carries a heavy sentence, the state requested that Abu Karon be remanded to police custody until the end of his trial, saying his crimes were particularly grave on three grounds.

First, the state noted that Abu Karon had endangered his own life by entering a firing zone in the middle of a live-fire drill. Second, he endangered the lives of soldiers, as interrupting such a drill can easily confuse soldiers in a way that leads to a friendly fire accident. Finally, the state argued that such exercises are expensive, and that halting one involving 10 units was a costly waste.

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