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Itamar security fence. 'Irreplaceable' Photo: Ben Kelmer
Itamar security fence. 'Irreplaceable' Photo: Ben Kelmer
 
Itamar after the attack Photo: George Ginsburg
Itamar after the attack Photo: George Ginsburg
 
IDF patrols Photo: Reuters
IDF patrols Photo: Reuters
 
 

Itamar massacre: Army blamed for breach

Samaria security officials say 'systematic failure' caused Itamar fence breach which enabled massacre of Fogel family members

Yoav Zitun
Published: 03.14.11, 00:22 / Israel News

Members of the civil security layout claimed Sunday that Itamar security guards who replaced IDF soldiers in guarding the outpost acted appropriately during the breach which enabled Saturday's terrorist attack.

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Meanwhile, large army forces continue their search for the terrorists who butchered five members of the Fogel family.

 

The IDF is probing the incident and whether army forces should have been dispatched following the alert in Itamar.

 

The outpost's operations room is managed by a Defense Ministry security company which handles frequent false alerts resulting from wild boars and rabbits coming in contact with the electric fence.

 

The Shomron Regional Council's security chief, Yoni Yisraeli, told Ynet that Itamar's security officers who replaced IDF soldiers several years ago did nothing wrong. "The operations room alerted the patrolman about the fence breech as he has done many times before. The patroller acts according to the army's judgment and decides whether an alert warrants a dispatch or not," he said.


Itamar security fence. Terrorists jumped over (Photo: Ben Kelmer)

 

"The area has many animals and shrubs that come in contact with the fence," Yisraeli explained. "In this case the fence wasn't cut, but skipped over. That is why the patrolman scanned the site and moved on after deducing there was a false alarm."

 

But this was no false alarm. Only after Tamar Fogel returned home from a youth movement activity the horrid truth revealed itself – five members of the family had been murdered by terrorists who jumped over the fence and penetrated the outpost.

 

Yisraeli explained that settlement security officers are directed by the army and effectively work in the IDF. "Procedure was duly followed but the fact that the penetration remained undetected indicates a systematic failure in terms of security components and the ability to detect breaches." Security components include gates, fences, lighting, cameras, security vehicles and more.

 

Elements in Itamar stated that observation cameras which operate only partially did not cover the area from which the terrorists infiltrated. Better coverage would have allowed the security officer to detect the breach.


'High level penetration' (Photo: George Ginsburg)

 

A security element in a prominent settlement stressed that the IDF bears security responsibility. Over the years the IDF has considerably decreased the number of soldiers guarding the communities, replacing them with Defense Ministry civil guards, he said.

 

He stressed that all guidelines are provided by the IDF and noted that the decision whether to call for army forces was a joint decision. "This was a relatively high level penetration which is a nightmare for any community and its security system."

 

Another security element in one of the West Bank settlements said that in most cases the guard is obligated to notify both the patroller and the army in cases of possible breaches.

 

"In many communities the army would come and scan the area after the patroller." Nevertheless, he noted that the fence is important and irreplaceable. "If it’s working it serves both us and the IDF. No patrol can do the job alone. Until a patroller circles a community, terrorists can infiltrate several times." 

 

Aviel Magnezi contributed to this report

 

 

 

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