'Soldiers' lives risked unnecessarily'

Major discrepancies found in maps used by IAF and infantry in Lebanon.

September 18, 2006 13:21
2 minute read.
'Soldiers' lives risked unnecessarily'

uav hizbullah 298 IDF. (photo credit: IDF)

IDF soldiers' lives were unnecessarily put at risk, a high-ranking IAF officer said Monday, by major discrepancies in maps used by infantry commanders and IAF pilots during Israel's second Lebanon War. According to the officer, the air force used updated maps of southern Lebanese villages from 2006, while troops on the ground were provided maps last updated in 2000. The discrepancies in the maps hindered efforts by the IAF to provide support for the ground forces.

  • IDF readies for 'complicated' Lebanon scenarios "The differences in the maps made it difficult to provide air assistance for forces on the ground since we weren't always talking about the same targets," the officer said, adding that the inconsistencies had put soldiers' lives in danger. The maps, essentially satellite images, provide numbers for each structure in Lebanese villages. Due to the differences in the maps, the numbers were not always the same for the IAF and the ground forces. The officer also said the IDF had lacked quality intelligence on Hizbullah and that as a result, Israel's success during the war was limited. "If we had better and more pinpointed information on Hizbullah's deployment in southern Lebanon and had known their location and numbers we could have done things differently," the officer said. The officer also said the air force had carried out 110 rescue sorties, 59 in Lebanese territory, and rescued 350 wounded soldiers. Since the UN-brokered cease-fire went into effect on August 14, Syria, the officer said, had continued to smuggle weapons intended for Hizbullah into Lebanon. The IAF was still flying over Lebanon and would continue, the officer said, until UN Security Council Resolution 1701 was fully implemented. The officer said Israel reserved the right to attack weapons convoys on their way to Hizbullah but that such a decision would only be made in consultation with the political echelon. "There is supposed to be a weapons embargo in Lebanon," the officer said. "If we see that there is a violation, we will discuss how to respond." Meanwhile Monday, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz appointed former OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog to head an internal army probe into the July 12 cross-border Hizbullah kidnapping of reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. Another member of the General Staff called Monday for the establishment of a National Emergency Administration in the wake of the war. Such an administration, which would integrate the Israel Police, IDF Home Front Command, Magen David Adom and the Fire Service, is the brainchild of OC Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Yitzhak Gershon. "There is no administration today that prioritizes and coordinates between the different emergency services in Israel," the officer said. "This puts the state of Israel at risk."

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