IDF investigating Falah killing - were mistakes made by troops?

Following a preliminary investigation, the military is looking at whether or not the force in the field received a full operational picture or not.

 IDF troops carrying out operations in the West Bank overnight, September 14, 2022 (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF troops carrying out operations in the West Bank overnight, September 14, 2022
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The IDF is investigating whether mistakes were made by the troops, including the late Maj. Bar Falah, operated to neutralize two Palestinian terrorists early Wednesday morning.

Falah, along with the head of the Menashe Brigade Col. Arik Moyal, were deployed to the area where the two suspects had been identified. A Zik drone was rushed to the area but was not used. The suspects were not initially identified as being armed, and opened fire on the IDF force, fatally wounding Falah.

Following a preliminary investigation, the military is looking at whether or not the force in the field received a full operational picture or not. The military has stressed the fact that Falah and Moyal were at the front of the force taking part in the incident, showing that soldiers and officers have a strong sense of protecting the state.

On Thursday morning, Israeli security forces led by troops from Falah’s Nahal reconnaissance battalion carried out operations in Kafr Dan in the northern West Bank, the hometown of the two terrorists involved in the deadly shootout.

The forces mapped the terrorists' houses in preparation for demolition and arrested two relatives of one of the terrorists. 

 IDF Chief of Staff (Lt.-Gen) Aviv Kohavi examines the area where the late  Maj. Bar Falah was killed.  (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) IDF Chief of Staff (Lt.-Gen) Aviv Kohavi examines the area where the late Maj. Bar Falah was killed. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

During the operation, clashes broke out and a Palestinian who threw a Molotov cocktail was killed. The Wafa Palestinian News Agency identified him as 17-year-old Udai Salah. Three others were injured.

Why are tensions so high in the West Bank? 

Tensions have spiked in the area in recent weeks as the IDF has increased its pressure on the northern West Bank with nightly arrest raids and other counter-terror efforts including continued work on closing the Seam Line to prevent Palestinians from illegally crossing into Israel.

The Israeli military has focused its Operation Break the Wave on the northern West Bank cities of Jenin and Nablus, where the majority of terror attacks have originated. Violent clashes, many times with heavy gunfire leveled at forces, are becoming an almost regular occurrence during the raids.  

According to the military, the IDF has thwarted some 550 terror attacks over the past two months. Shin Bet Chief Ronen Bar said on Wednesday that the security agency has foiled over 300 significant terror attacks this past year, including shootings and suicide attacks.

The military has stressed that while the last deadly terror attack inside Israel was on the evening of Independence Day when two Palestinians killed three Israeli civilians in the city of Elad, Operation Break the Wave will continue as long as necessary in order to prevent future attacks.

While IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi has placed the blame for the increased violence on the weakening PA, the Palestinians have blamed Israel.

Nevertheless, the military has said that while it continues to make moves to strengthen the PA, both Abbas and the United States need to understand the situation in the West Bank. If the PA is unable to exert control over its population and reign in terrorists, the IDF will continue to act inside West Bank cities.