IDF soldiers in desert exercise 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The IDF is working to codify procedures that soldiers will be expected to take
if they have the opportunity to thwart the abduction of a fellow soldier even at
the risk of endangering his life, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
decision to lay down guidelines for how soldiers should act in such a case was
made recently by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz following the
prisoner swap Israel carried out last month with Hamas in exchange for Gilad
IDF trains for soldier abduction scenario
'Hamas refuses to abandon policy of IDF kidnappings'
The IDF has been operating according to an unwritten and highly
controversial protocol called “Hannibal,” which was developed in the 1980s,
under which soldiers are required to take all action to thwart an abduction,
even if the life of the abducted soldier would be in danger. In practice,
commanders have given the protocol their own independent
During Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in 2009, a
commander of a battalion from the Golani Brigade told his soldiers that they
should even consider blowing themselves up with a grenade if they are in danger
of being kidnapped.
One senior commander told the Post
that he has made
it very clear to his subordinates that they need to do “everything” to prevent
the abduction of a soldier.
“Officers tend to understand what
‘everything’ means and I am sure that company commanders, for example, would
know what to do in such a case,” the senior officer said.
Under the new
work being conducted within the IDF, officers are writing clearer guidelines for
what soldiers are expected to do in the case of an abducted soldier.
scenario is if a soldier is grabbed from a tank along the Gaza Strip – similar
to the way Schalit was abducted – and is put into a car, once in Gaza. The first
stage, one officer explained, would be for a nearby tank to try and target the
car’s engine to prevent the terrorists from fleeing with the abducted
If that does not work, they would have to then consider firing
at the center of the car, even at the risk of injuring their comrade.
IDF is concerned that Hamas and other terrorist organizations like Islamic Jihad
and Hezbollah are currently plotting to kidnap Israeli soldiers.
future abductions of soldiers, the IDF on Sunday held a large-scale exercise in
the Jordan Valley to prepare a response for the potential kidnapping of a
Gantz oversaw the drill, which took place throughout the Jordan
Valley with the purpose of reviewing the readiness of Division 162, which is
stationed along the border.
The scenario included a soldier being
abducted by Palestinian terrorists and moved between a number of vehicles as
well as a number of villages in the Jordan Valley area. On the sidelines of the
kidnapping, the scenario included a terrorist infiltration into an Israeli
settlement in the area.