TEL AVIV (Dec. 19)
The committee investigating the November 4 car bomb attack on Israeli military headquarters in Tyre found negligence by the army command was a factor in the deaths of 61 persons, including 29 Israeli soldiers and border policemen.
The committee’s final report was submitted to the Cabinet yesterday by Maj. Gen. Amnon Reshef who headed the inquiry. The Cabinet directed the Defense Minister and the Chief of Staff “to draw the appropriate conclusions for the future” and to deal with “those found to have acted inappropriately … In accordance with standard Israel Defense Force procedure.”
The committee said its findings were to be presented to the military police investigative branch, indicating that court martial proceedings could be brought against certain individuals. The report found instances of security negligence on the part of both the local command in Tyre and the IDF’s northern command which is responsible for Israeli forces in Lebanon.
The report released last night followed an interim report by the committee which drew criticism in the Knesset and from the public for being too vague and failing to pinpoint blame. Responsibility for the attack in Tyre was claimed by the Islamic Jihad, a group which took credit for similar attacks on U.S. and French military headquarters in Beirut a month earlier.
FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT SECURITY PRECAUTIONS
The report said that the local IDF command and the northern command failed to implement security precautions ordered by the General Staff. It noted that a General Staff directive called for the placement of an armored vehicle at the entrance to the Israeli compound but no such precaution was taken.
The committee, however, was unable to draw clear conclusions as to whether other apparent lapses of security were due to negligence and if they contributed to the death toll. In that category the report listed the absence of two IDF guards from their posts at the time. The committee also could not determine whether the gate at the entrance to the compound would have been sufficient to block the explosive-laden vehicle had it been locked instead of unlocked.