TEL AVIV (Mar. 2)
The Israel Defense Force will press charges against eight officers and three soldiers from the ranks for breach of discipline and laxity on duty in connection with the murders of three recruits by Arab terrorists at their training billet during the night of Feb. 15.
The decision to prosecute was announced Monday by the IDF’s judge advocate general, Brig. Gen. Ilan Schiff. He said he accepted the findings of Maj. Gen. Nehemia Tamari, the officer assigned to investigate the episode by the IDF chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Ehud Barak.
Schiff said the officers who will be tried by a disciplinary court include a colonel, two lieutenant colonels and a captain.
Credit for the killings was claimed by the Black Panthers, a group within the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Al Fatah branch. The three victims, two of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union, were hacked to death in their sleep with knives, axes and a pitchfork.
The killers are still at large.
The murders occurred at Nahal Training Base 80 at Galed, at the southern end of the Carmel range. The men were sleeping in tents at the lightly defended training facility, which is attached to a base whose staff was responsible for the recruits.
Tamari found serious shortcomings at both installations in his investigation.
The highest-ranking officer to be tried is the colonel who commanded Camp 80 and has since been removed from his post.
The two lieutenant colonels were in charge of the associated training camps. The captain who was the duty officer on the night of the murders was found not to have been carrying a weapon.
One of the three soldiers charged is a medical orderly alleged to have acted contrary to established regulations. Another is a new immigrant recruit from Argentina who shared the tent with the slain men but failed to come to their rescue.