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Committee Probing Eilat Explosion Cites Negligence; Call for Trial of Officers

A special committee investigating the cause of last Saturday’s fatal ammunition explosion in Eilat recommended today that several officers should be brought to trial for negligence. The death toll meanwhile reached 22 as another one of the blast victims die of his injuries. He was identified as Abraham Hadidda, of Kiryat Atta. The committee, appointed by Chief of Staff Haim Bar Lev, found that the explosion was caused when a live anti-personnel mine detonated a truckload of mines being unloaded from an Israeli naval craft at the military jetty in Eilat. The mines were being returned from Shadwan, an Egyptian island in the Gulf of Suez, which was occupied by Israeli paratroopers for 32 hours last week. They were supposed to have been deactivated. But the inquiry committee found that there were a number of live mines in the truck, contrary to all orders, written and oral. Gen. Bar Lev passed the report over to the Army Prosecutor.