Photo: AP
Soldiers scared for their lives
Photo: AP

Troops 'chicken out' before operation

Three soldiers refuse to take part in counter-terror operation, tell commander they fear for their life

Minutes before the start of an IDF operation in Jenin to arrest a senior suspect of the Islamic Jihad terror group, an officer and two soldiers, fearing for their lives, told their commander they do not wish to take part in the action, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.


In the early hours of Wednesday, IDF combat units and members of the police elite anti-terror unit readied to enter Jenin to nab Iad Abou al-Rob, a member of the Islamic Jihad, wanted for masterminding at least three suicide bombing attacks against Israel.


The Shin Bet security service received pinpoint intelligence tips that Abou al-Rob and other Islamic Jihad suspects are hiding in a building in Jenin. The IDF and the police braced themselves for what was tipped as one of the most important nabbing operations in the last five years.


The IDF commander overseeing the operation, an officer of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, was hit by the news that three of his combatants want to shake off the dangerous mission, acknowledging that they are fully aware of the implications of their refusal to obey orders.


The three soldiers said they fear for their lives and refused to take part in the mission.

The stunned commander decided to suspend the renegade soldiers and passed on the issue to IDF Central Command head Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh.


The incident is highly unusual in the elite combat unit whose achievements against terror organizations in the West Bank over the last five years of violence have been praised by the IDF top brass


The killing of arch terrorist Louie Saadi in Tul Karem in October, in which the three soldiers participated, was one of the team’s main achievements. Sources in the unit said the three soldiers took part in that operation, which included close-range combat, and added the battle may have affected the troops.


A senior commander familiar with the unit told Yedioth Ahronoth service in the unit requires a lot of nerves with almost every arrest conducted over the last few months resulting in clashes with gunmen.


פרסום ראשון: 11.24.05, 11:12
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