JERUSALEM (Aug. 5)
Six Israel Defense Force soldiers, three of them officers, were found guilty of negligence in the wake of a daring raid by Arab terrorists last weekend into Israel’s Civil Administration headquarters in Hebron.
The terrorists set afire two army vehicles and smeared nationalist slogans on the walls before managing to escape undetected and unhurt.
Two IDF soldiers were injured during efforts to extinguish the fire.
The attack on the headquarters in Hebron was the latest in a series of incidents that reflected a lack of discipline among IDF soldiers.
One such case resulted in tragedy when a member of one of the crack commando units that work undercover in the administered territories accidentally killed a fellow soldier during an operation.
This latest instance of poor discipline prompted the military command in the West Bank to take punitive action.
The six soldiers charged with negligence — two lieutenants, one second lieutenant, one sergeant and two reserve soldiers — were sentenced to military jail for a period of 21 to 70 days.
The attack was especially disturbing in light of the fact that the military headquarters in Hebron are strategically located on top of a hill overlooking the town, well protected by a surrounding fence.
According to the army’s investigation, several Arab terrorists, probably members of the Hamas Moslem fundamentalist movement, arrived at the perimeter of the headquarters early Saturday morning.
They cut through a fence at the military garage and entered the garage area. They had brought with them containers of gasoline and boxes of contact glue.
They spilled the flammable materials on two jeeps, set them afire, smeared nationalist slogans and took off. It was only then that the soldiers on duty awoke and extinguished the fire, preventing further damage.
Army sources said it was lucky that the terrorists had not taken advantage of the disorder in the army camp following the attack and opened fire on the soldiers.