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Southern Commander Reprimanded in Beatings of Bus Hijackers

June 4, 1984
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A ranking army officer and a senior officer of the secret service (Shin Bet) have been reprimanded by their superiors in connection with the fatal beatings of two bus hijackers after they were taken alive by Israeli forces last April 13.

Maj. Gen. Moshe Bar Kochba, commander of the Israel Defense Force southern command, was cited for negligence by Chief of Staff Gen. Moshe Levy. The Shin Bet officer was reprimanded on the same grounds by the chief of the secret service. The law forbids identifying members of Shin Bet.

Both reprimands were issued on the recommendation of the special committee, headed by Maj. Gen. (res.) Meir Zorea, which conducted an investigation into the deaths of the two terrorists. The men were killed by blows to their heads, presumably while undergoing interrogation in a field after soldiers stormed the hijacked bus to free its passengers. Two other hijackers were killed in the shoot-out.

Apart from reprimands, the Zorea committee recommended no further disciplinary action. The charges of negligence arose, presumably, from the absence of any clear orders that captured prisoners should not be killed. Neither Bar Kochba nor the Shin Bet official was directly implicated in the incident.

The press reported today that the reprimands were made public after both officers complained that the media was implying unfairly that one of them was the “senior officer under investigation for direct involvement” in beating the terrorists to death. The Zorea committee reportedly recommended that legal action be taken against three men, none of whom has yet been identified.

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