FAMILY AND FRIENDS mourn at the graves of Yosef, Chaya and Elad Salomon, who were buried at the Modi’in Cemetery, on July 23. (.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A military investigation into July’s Halamish (Neveh Tzuf) terrorist attack that claimed the lives of three civilians was the result of a series of failures of both IDF troops and civilian security forces, IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said on Monday.
According to the investigation which was presented to head of Central Command, Maj.-Gen. Roni Numa, there were significant failings by both soldiers and civilian security personnel which allowed a Palestinian terrorist to infiltrate the settlement and kill 70-year-old Yosef Salomon and his children, Chaya, 46, and Elad, 35.
The investigation was carried out in cooperation with the security forces of the Binyamin Regional Council and the civilian security establishment of settlement.
It was found that a lack of effective communication between the civilian security apparatus and the military was the main reason behind why the terrorist was able to spend 15 minutes in the settlement before being neutralized.
According to Manelis, the patrol that was investigating the infiltration alert thought the warning of a possible infiltration was a result of wind or an animal as the settlement is located close to a forest.
Following the investigation, the district defense commander of the Binyamin Brigade received an official command remark on his record regarding his failure to comply with procedures relating to the lack of communication between the army and the settlement.
The company commander of the Netzah Yehuda Battalion was also reprimanded by the commander of the Kfir Brigade after failing to fully assess the situation.
The commander of the IDF patrol, who held the rank of sergeant, was reprimanded by the brigade commander and sentenced to 21 days of on-base detention. The soldiers of the patrol received an official note on their permanent records.
In addition the settlement’s civilian security coordinator, its deputy, and the private security officer monitoring the settlement’s front gate all received reprimands for not calling the military after the sensors warned of an infiltration. The settlement’s deputy security coordinator and the guard at the gate were dismissed from their positions.
IDF forces in action following deadly attack in Halamish, July 22, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson Unit)
Manelis said in a conversation with reporters that the overall responsibility for the settlement and civilian security system rests with the IDF and therefore the army has decided to intensify the training of security procedures for both military and civilian officers in the sector in order to strengthen the communication mechanisms between the two apparatuses.
In addition, Manelis stated that despite the IDF allocating funds and a plan being developed to upgrade Halamish’s security fence in November 2016, the plan had was not fully implemented. Other security measures had also not been improved. As such, the IDF will now be installing additional security systems in the settlements.
On July 21, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed from the West Bank village of Kobar, near Ramallah, infiltrated the Halamish community.
According to the initial investigation he gained access into the settlement by crawling under its first fence and cut through an additional fence with scissors. He then climbed a trees to get over the next two security fences, including an electric fence, to get inside.
After walking through the settlement’s cemetery he reached two homes, and decided to enter the Salomon home after seeing it with its lights on and stabbed the three Salomon family members to death and injured the mother, Tova Salomon.
Al-Abed was neutralized by off duty IDF soldier Sgt. A. who heard the victims screams from his home. He ran to the Salomon home and shot one bullet through the window with his pistol.
Sgt. A. and his father, Shimon Maoz, entered the house, identified the neutralized terrorist and called security forces.
The investigation into the attack praised Sgt. A’s actions and he was later awarded a commendation.
A month after the attack, security forces arrested family members of the terrorist and demolished the al-Abed home. Al-Abed, who had initially planned to carry out an attack using a suicide belt or firearms, was indicted for the murder of the Salomon family in August.