The military reported on Sunday that 18-year-old Corporal Dennis Zinoviev was the soldier who was killed in the accidental grenade explosion overnight, on an IDF training base located in the Jordan Valley.
Three soldiers were also injured in the incident and rushed to the hospital, one of them in moderate condition and the other two having sustained light injuries.
“The Military Police has launched an investigation into the incident, and its findings will be delivered to the Military Advocate General,” The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.
After the incident, Ground Forces Command chief, Major General Tamir Yadai ordered to suspend live fire exercise drills and perform searches for discarded live ammunition in all ground units. The drills will continue after IDF soldiers and commanders receive preventive courses about the treatment of live ammunition.
According to the military, a loud blast was heard Saturday night coming from one of the dormitory rooms on the training base which was believed to have been caused by a grenade stored in a bag in the room, which exploded accidentally after being moved or hit.
An Initial probe into the incident found that seven soldiers were in the room at the time the grenade exploded.
Estimates say that the 40 mm grenade was likely intended to be used as ammunition for a grenade launcher, and was found by the soldiers during live fire training. A soldier likely stored the grenade in his bag, against IDF procedures to dispose of live ammunition.
According to witnesses at the scene, Zinoviev, who was trained in using a grenade launcher, didn’t load the grenade into his rifle and had no intention of gunplay. Investigation into the grenade’s casing also indicated that it wasn’t fired.
The military estimates that while the soldiers did not misuse their firearms, they broke strict safety orders that say that no live ammunition can be brought into and stored inside, the soldiers’ dormitories.
The investigation now attempts to look into when and why Zinoviev picked up the grenade during the exercise, and if any of the soldiers in his unit knew about it. The military said the soldiers were still in the midst of active training and that the grenade was not given to the soldier prior to the incident.
Similar safety-related incidents have occurred in the military in the last two weeks, including a soldier being injured from a stray bullet that was discharged from another soldier’s rifle during a drill.
In another incident, the walls of a military portable building in an IDF base near Jenin collapsed when two deodorant bottles found inside, burst causing a small gas canister to explode. No injuries were reported in that incident.
Also, on January 3 Corporal Baruch Kabrat was killed in a firearm incident at a military base in central Israel after he was hit by a stray bullet.
The soldier who allegedly discharged the gun was arrested, and in his investigation, claimed he attempted to correct a malfunction in his firearm. However, during the investigation, he was found to allegedly attempt to suppress evidence.
It has not yet been determined whether the accidental discharge of the weapon was accidental or intentional.
The military has acknowledged those incidents.