(photo credit: AP)
IDF and police forces were searching Thursday for a soldier from the elite
General Staff Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Matkal) who went missing during a
training exercise in the South late Wednesday night. IDF sources said they
believed he had bolted for personal, psychological reasons, amid the acute
pressures of the training.
The soldier, who has been in the army for a
year and is close to completing the training segment for the top unit, had been
participating in an exercise together with his squad in the Haruvit Forest in
the Lachish Region.
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The squad had completed a grueling part of the
exercise, which included carrying stretchers for a number of
When the group stopped to rest, the soldier suddenly ran off
into the forest. His squad members initially thought that he had gone to relieve
himself, but went looking for him when he failed to return. He had told a fellow
soldier during the trek that he was finding it difficult.
The soldier was
carrying an electronic transmitter, which apparently stopped working
to a technical malfunction or because it was disconnected. Officials are
concerned that he either fell into a ditch or is hiding and does not
want to be
Large police and military forces scoured the area with the
assistance of helicopters.
Two years ago, Tamir Naboani, a soldier from
the same unit, was killed during a solo navigation exercise in the Arava
when he fell off a 15-meter cliff.
Solo navigation is part of the
training of elite infantry units.
Police asked the public for assistance
in locating the soldier and released the following description – 1.75
centimeters tall, a thin frame and a long face. He was last seen wearing
desert uniform and brown shoes. Anyone who has seen him is asked to
police by dialing 100, or the Kiryat Malachi police station at (08)