IDF: Slain soldier Falah ‘led from the front,’ died fighting terrorists

The IDF investigated the death and circumstances surrounding the tragic loss of Maj. Bar Falah.

 Maj. Bar Falah, Deputy Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion was killed overnight by Palestinian gunmen near Jenin. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Maj. Bar Falah, Deputy Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion was killed overnight by Palestinian gunmen near Jenin.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The IDF has released the findings of the investigation into the death of Maj. Bar Falah, deputy commander of the Nahal Brigade’s Reconnaissance battalion during a firefight with Palestinian terrorists near Jenin in September.

The findings were presented to IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi by Central Command head Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs.

The incident occurred on September 14 at around 11:30 p.m. after IDF observation soldiers identified two suspects approaching the fence along the seam line near a military post. The suspects, who were not identified as being armed, came within 15 meters of the fence and lay down.

Troops fired into the air and toward the area where the suspects had been identified, but they didn’t respond.

Forces, including Falah and Menashe Brigade commander Col. Arik Moyal, were deployed to the area where the suspects had been identified. A Zik drone was scrambled to the area but was not used.

 IDF raid on Jenin, October 14, 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) IDF raid on Jenin, October 14, 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The forces split into two, one led by Falah and the other by Moyal, in an attempt to surprise the gunmen, who then opened fire on the troops who had approached within several meters. Troops returned fire and killed the terrorists, but during the fight, Falah was struck and killed.

The investigation found that the Menashe Brigade, “as a whole and the force that operated in particular, met the mission of defense and thwarted an attack, with the painful price of the death of the Deputy Commander of the Nahal Reconnaissance Brigade, the late Maj. Bar Falah,” the army said in a statement.

When the arms go unnoticed

The military also said that while the observation soldiers and the entire force had “full control” over what was taking place during the incident, they didn’t recognize that the terrorists were armed.

In addition, the investigation found several errors in the way that the force chose to isolate the area where the terrorists were.

But, the military said, “from the moment the terrorists opened fire on the forces, the troops fired at the terrorists until they were killed. The late Maj. Bar Falah commanded and led his soldiers from the front, strived for contact, and acted with determination in order to remove the threat.”

After he was injured, his troops crawled toward him to provide initial medical treatment. Medical forces got to Falah after the terrorists were killed. And while the treatment was “professional and fast, due to the nature of his injury, his life could not be saved,” the military said.

Kohavi accepted the conclusions of the investigation as presented, and said that the mission was accomplished and an attack was foiled. And while the event was an example of troops striving for contact, with commanders who lead from the front, the chief of staff said, there were a number of professional errors that must be learned from by all combat units.

 Maj. Bar Falah (credit: FALAH FAMILY) Maj. Bar Falah (credit: FALAH FAMILY)

“Despite its unfortunate results, this is an incident in which an attack was thwarted and civilian harm was avoided,” Kohavi said. “The behavior of the forces at the event, starting with the commanders, including the late Maj. Bar Falah, from the officers to the last of the soldiers, is an example of courage and determination. However, during the fight, several errors were made, which must be studied in depth and [how to avoid them] implemented to prevent the recurrence of such cases.”

A summary of the investigation findings was presented to the Falah family.