IDF completes investigation into deadly Khan Younis commando raid

November 2018 led to the death of an elite officer

July 8, 2019 13:53
2 minute read.

IDF completes investigation into deadly Khan Younis commando raid

IDF completes investigation into deadly Khan Younis commando raid

An IDF investigation into a botched commando raid in the Gaza Strip in November has found that the elite officer killed in the raid was due to friendly fire.

The report was presented and accepted by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi. The special review committee was established by the military to examine and learn from the raid which took place in Khan Yunis on November 11, 2018.

The findings of the review, as part of two investigations into the raid, were also presented to commanders from the Special Forces, the deputy chief of the General Staff, the head of the Operations Directorate, the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, the commander of the air force, and the head of the General Staff Review Committee, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Nitzan Alon.

The November raid in Khan Yunis left an IDF lieutenant-colonel dead and another officer moderately injured. Six Hamas terrorists, including Khan Yunis commander Nur Barakeh, were also killed in the firefight.

According to the investigation, the exchange of fire between Hamas and the IDF lasted about a minute and a half. Following the shootout, it was decided to call in an air force helicopter to extract all the soldiers, including the dead officer.

In a televised news conference ast year, Abu Obaida, spokesperson for Hamas’s Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, said that the Israeli commandos infiltrated into Gaza under the cover of fog, planning to install equipment to wiretap Hamas’s communications networks. Another commando entered Gaza through a border crossing, under the pretense of working with an international charity operating in the Strip, the group said.

Following the operation, thenchief of the General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gadi Eisenkot appointed a committee headed by Maj.Gen. (res.) Nitzan Alon, which was tasked with investigating the operation, drawing conclusions, and devising recommendations to be implemented by the General Staff and put into practice by the different IDF branches involved in special operations. The committee’s members included senior officers in active service as well as reservists and senior officials within the security establishment.

According to a statement released by the military, Kochavi said that “the operational mission had not been completed,” and that the investigators’ analysis of the way the events unfolded during the course of the operation “suggests a number of faults in the forces’ execution of their mission, both before and during the operation, which ultimately led to their exposure.”
The investigators drew several conclusions relating to the Special Forces’ operational planning, preparation, as well as the command mechanisms in place during special operations, the army said.

Some of the recommendations relating to the cooperation of the Special Forces division with the General Staff are already being implemented, and the division is currently developing a multiyear program based on these conclusions, the statement continued.

While the IDF has not commented in depth regarding the commando raid, the military explained that the purpose of the special forces operation was not to kill or kidnap, and that the troops were exposed while they “carried out a lengthy operation.”

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