TEL AVIV (Sep. 14)
Three officers with the Israel Defense Force, one of them a general, are to be court-martialed for negligence, according to the IDF’s chief military prosecutor.
The prosecutor, Brig. Gen. Ilan Schiff, announced Tuesday his decision to try Maj. Gen. Amiram Levine — said to be the most senior IDF officer ever to be put on trial — as well as an unnamed IDF major and captain.
Schiff reached the decision after studying the findings of a special investigative committee headed by reserve Maj. Gen. Menahem Einan.
The negligence charges stem from an accident that occurred at the Tze’elim training grounds in the Negev last November, in which five soldiers of one of the army’s most elite units were killed and six others injured.
The casualties occurred when a missile misfired during a training exercise and slammed into a group of soldiers taking part in the exercise.
In addition to the three officers to be tried, Schiff announced that Maj. Gen. Uri Saguy, head of military intelligence, should be given an administrative reprimand.
The military censor clamped a thick veil of secrecy over the incident at the time it occurred. Among the few details that have filtered out since then, it became known that the ill-fated exercise was being observed by top IDF officials and was a preparatory exercise for a strike at Iraq.
On the basis of the Einan report, Schiff concluded that the charges should be filed against the captain who issued the order to file the missile; against the major who planned the training exercise; and against Levine, who approved the exercise.