Newly released footage reveals what transpired in the operation in which Lieutenant Colonel M. was killed last year.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF – www.jpost.com
In newly released footage of the failed IDF operation in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip last year in which Lieutenant Colonel M. was killed and another officer was injured, IDF soldiers can be heard saying “out, out, get out now.”
The footage was broadcast by Al Jazeera, according to The Jerusalem Post‘s sister paper, Maariv.
One member of Hamas’ military wing, who was participating in the operation at the time, said that the different appearance of the Israeli soldiers caused suspicion among them and thus they began investigating. The Hamas members questioned the soldiers, as heard on the footage, for about 40 minutes, during which time the soldiers insisted they had come to visit family at a local hospital. Finally, when they had to, the IDF soldiers managed to escape in two minutes time despite a close-quarters fire fight. They left behind advanced technological equipment, which was later revealed in the investigation.
Al-Jazeera discussed Hamas’ “Special communications unit,” a covert unit whose purpose is to stop the infiltration by outsiders into the organization’s communications equipment. This unit was, among others, responsible for revealing the eavesdropping devices that were hidden at the center of the Al-Zuida area in the Gaza Strip, during which six Hamas members were killed.
An investigation into the incident that was released in July showed that the soldiers were hit by friendly fire, not Hamas fire. The findings of the review, as part of two investigations into the raid, were also presented to commanders from the Special Forces, the deputy chief of the General Staff, the head of the Operations Directorate, the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, the commander of the air force, and the head of the General Staff Review Committee, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Nitzan Alon.
The November raid in Khan Yunis left an IDF lieutenant-colonel dead and another officer moderately injured. Six Hamas terrorists, including Khan Yunis commander Nur Barakeh, were also killed in the firefight.
According to the investigation, the exchange of fire between Hamas and the IDF lasted about a minute and a half. Following the shootout, it was decided to call in an air force helicopter to extract all the soldiers, including the dead officer.
According to a statement released by the military, “the operational mission had not been completed,” and the investigators’ analysis of the way the events unfolded during the course of the operation “suggests a number of faults in the forces’ execution of their mission, both before and during the operation, which ultimately led to their exposure.”
The investigators drew several conclusions relating to the Special Forces’ operational planning, preparation, as well as the command mechanisms in place during special operations, the army said.
While the IDF confirmed that the investigation shows a number of faults, it emphasized that at no point were the soldiers negligent, so the decision was that there would be no personal action taken against any senior officers in the Intelligence division.