Second senior officer quits over botched commando raid

Head of the IDF Intelligence Directorate's Special Operations Division quits after learning military wanted to replace him.

July 7, 2019 17:00
2 minute read.
IDF discovers an additional Hezbollah tunnel entering Israel from Lebanon, Operation Northern Shield

IDF discovers an additional Hezbollah tunnel entering Israel from Lebanon as part of Operation Northern Shield. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

A senior commander in the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate has left his post over a botched raid by special forces in the southern Gaza Strip last year, the second high-ranking officer to do so.

According to a report by Yediot Aharonot, Brig.-Gen. “G,” who served as commander of the Intelligence Directorate’s Special Operations Division, quit after learning from media reports two months ago that IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi asked his predecessor to replace him and rehabilitate the elite unit.

His predecessor, Brig.-Gen. “A,” left the army three years ago and has not yet given an answer on whether he wants to resume the position he previously held.

Nevertheless, the report said that G has informed Kochavi that he will leave his position on August 1 regardless of whether A accepts, saying he doesn’t want to be a “lame duck.”

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit told Yediot that G’s resignation was approved after he served three years as commanding officer of the division, and that a replacement would be appointed in the coming days.

He was “an esteemed commander and combat fighter who contributed significantly to the security of the state throughout his service,” the military said. “In some 30 years, he took part in dozens of special operations, and the units he commanded won awards and much appreciation.”

G previously commanded the IDF’s elite General Staff Reconnaissance Unit. In February, the unit’s commander resigned over the botched raid, marking the first time the head of the elite unit has stepped down in over 20 years.

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.

The IDF launched two investigations into the raid, which according to Yediot is viewed as a failure by the military.

In a televised news conference last year, Abu Obaida, spokesperson for the group’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.

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.”

Following the Khan Yunis shootout, Hamas published photos of eight people and two vehicles it said had taken part in the IDF operation, leading Israel’s military censor to put out a serious warning regarding any publication issued by Hamas about the raid.

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