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Israeli soldiers on trial for leaving posts

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Four Israeli soldiers are on trial for abandoning their surveillance posts.

A Haifa military court charged three female conscripts Wednesday with gross dereliction of duty, and is to indict a fourth Thursday.

The women work as spotters for an Israeli military intelligence unit and are suspected of leaving their posts without permission in order to sleep. They also are charged with vandalism — according to Israeli media, after their surveillance equipment was found to have been deliberately damaged so as to be unusable.

The Israeli military has been reticent about the case. But, according to Channel 10 television, the suspects were stationed in a highly sensitive base on the Lebanese border, with responsibilities for spotting attempted infiltration attempts by Hezbollah and other terrorists.

The television story quoted at least one defendant as saying the service conditions were unacceptable, with little time to rest or recuperate.

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