War hero's parents want commander removed

Parents allege that officer did not do enough to rescue son, whose tank rolled over bomb in Lebanon.

The parents of St.-Sgt. Kobi Smileg, who was killed in a heroic rescue mission during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, petitioned the High Court of Justice on Wednesday, demanding that the deputy commander of their son's battalion be removed from his post, Army Radio reported. In explaining the lawsuit they have been pursuing, which has been ongoing for three years, the parents' lawyer, Shlomo Tzipori, said that the commander was responsible for Kobi's "excruciating death" because he did not give an order for the soldiers in the burning tank to be quickly rescued. In addition, the parents are demanding to know why neither legal nor disciplinary steps were taken against the officer. Smileg's death was the tragic result of a heroic effort to rescue Golani infantrymen who were wounded and pinned down by Hizbullah fighters in Bint Jbail during the war. On July 24, 2006, the commander of Smileg's battalion, Lt.-Col. Guy Kabili, ordered two tanks to drive into the village and help bring back the Golani soldiers. Under heavy gunfire, Kabili ran out of his tank and carried the wounded back in, together with his soldiers. On the way back out of the village, however, the tank drove over an explosive device and flipped over, killing Smileg. Six others in the tank were wounded, including Kabili, who sustained serious wounds to one of his hands. In response to the lawsuit, the IDF said that the incident was investigated at the time, and it was concluded that the commander acted according to protocol, and according to what was expected of him given the conditions on the battlefield. However, according to Smileg's father, Eliezer, details of the incident showed that more could have been done to save his son. He told Army Radio that the military's official position was that Kobi was in such bad shape after the explosion that he could only be identified by his fingerprints. However, he said that other people who were in the tank with his son said that Kobi was actually "alive and fully conscious. The tank was not on fire. It came apart, but it was not on fire. "Nothing was done for Kobi, he died trapped," his father said.