The examination of the incident of an infiltration by an assailant through the Egyptian border on Saturday, June 3rd 2023, in which the late SGT Lia Ben Nun, SSGT Ori Izhak Iluz and SSGT Ohad Shimon Dahan were killed, was presented this week to the Chief of the General Staff, LTG Herzi Halevi, by the Commanding Officer of the Southern Command, MG Eliezer Toledano, and the Commanding Officer of the 80th Edom Division, BG Itzik Cohen.
- The examination found that an Egyptian police officer infiltrated into Israeli territory through a security crossing in the Egyptian border fence, and opened fire towards SSGT Iluz, a commander in the Bardelas Battalion, and towards SGT Ben Nun, a soldier in the Bardelas Battalion, while they were conducting a defense activity in the area. Both soldiers were killed as a result. A few hours later, the assailant was identified and opened fire toward IDF soldiers from a distance. The soldiers responded with fire. During the fire exchange, the late SSGT Dahan was killed and another soldier was lightly injured. Following the first encounter with the assailant, the brigade commander and his soldiers engaged and the assailant was neutralized.
The examination indicated that the main reasons that enabled the incident were the security crossing in the border fence, which was merely hidden but not locked, and the low quality of the implementation of the principle of security and defense in the area of the border.
In addition, it was found that priorities between preparation for hostile or terrorist activity and preparation for handling the common threat of smuggling attempts in the sector must be clarified. No faults or errors were found in the conduct of the fallen soldiers; these soldiers stood out positively in their actions as IDF soldiers.
Furthermore, the examination found that the deployment of soldiers in the region, an area characterized by smuggling attempts and a large number of Israeli travelers, was essential. However, splitting the soldiers into pairs, as well as the duration of their defense missions and the methods by which the region was overseen had to be considered and conducted differently. Lessons in this area were drawn and will be implemented.
The examination clearly indicated that from the moment the assailant was identified near areas where Israeli civilians travel, the soldiers in the area engaged and operated with determination and neutralized him.
- No shortcoming was found in the Israeli Air Force’s response to the division’s needs, which included the shortening of standby times for the combat helicopter array that was grounded during the weekend.
As part of the lessons approved for immediate implementation, it was decided to seal the security crossings in the border fence, reduce the duration of the missions of the soldiers from 12 consecutive hours and determine a different minimum number of soldiers to be present in these types of defense missions (guard duties).
- As part of the examination, an additional inquiry was held in collaboration with the Egyptian Armed Forces due to the strategic and security cooperation between the countries. It included a visit by senior IDF officials to Cairo and a joint inquiry at the scene of the incident in Israeli territory.
Commanding Officer of the Southern Command, MG Eliezer Toledano, said: “This is a severe incident with difficult operational consequences that could have been prevented, and it is necessary to immediately draw lessons from it. Despite the difficult results, the soldiers managed to neutralize the assailant in Israeli territory before he endangered civilians in near areas which have many travelers”.
Chief of the General Staff, LTG Herzi Halevi, said:
- “This is an operational incident with a difficult outcome of the death of three IDF soldiers who were killed by a single assailant. There are two prominent factors that had the power to prevent the incident: the attitude toward the security crossing at the Egyptian border fence and strict adherence to security protocols. Alongside the high-quality work of the chain of command, which resulted in significant achievements in thwarting smuggling attempts at the border, inadequacies and errors were found in the implementation of the operational concepts and in operational prioritizing. This is a difficult incident that could and should have been prevented. We will draw the necessary conclusions, study them and correct and improve our conduct.” The Chief of the General Staff instructed that the lessons drawn from the examination be learned and integrated into all combat units in the IDF.
Following the findings of the examination and its conclusions, command measures will be taken in the cases of several officials:
In the case of the Commanding Officer of the 80th Edom Division, a command reprimand procedure will be conducted due to his overall responsibility in the incident, including the absence of monitoring of the implementation of standard procedures.
- In the case of the Commanding Officer of the Paran Brigade, a procedure of transfer to a different position in the IDF will take place, due to his overall responsibility in the incident, and the manner in which activities were conducted in the area under his command.
The Commanding Officer operated in an appropriate manner during the incident in which he engaged and charged to neutralize the terrorist.
- In the case of the Commanding Officer of the Bardelas Battalion, a command reprimand procedure will be conducted due to his responsibility for the implementation of the concepts of operation among his soldiers. It was also determined that his promotion will be delayed for five years.
The concept of defense and the means available to the division, along with other issues, will be examined by a designated team established to examine the principals of defense of peaceful borders, led by MG Nimrod Aloni.
The findings of the examination were presented to the Iluz, Ben Nun and Dahan families. The IDF sends its deepest condolences to the bereaved families and will continue supporting them.
Source: Arutz Sheva