First Sergeant-Major Yariv Ben-Amitai
Reproduction photo: Hagai Aharon
Photo: Avihu Shapira
Hummer (archives)
Photo: Avihu Shapira
IDF soldier killed in operational accident near Gaza
Hummer vehicle overturns for unknown reason during routine patrol along border fence; soldier seriously injured, later dies of his wounds
An IDF soldier was killed Tuesday morning in an operation accident at the Gaza Strip border, near the Kissufim checkpoint. He was later identified as First Sergeant-Major Yariv Ben-Amitai, 21, of Kibbutz Hazorim.


The soldier, from the Golani Brigade's 13th regiment, was seriously injured as a Hummer vehicle overturned during a routine patrol along the border fence, and died of his wounds shortly afterward. His family was informed of his death.


Twelve operational accidents have taken place since the beginning of 2007, and this was the first casualty in such an accident.


The accident took place at around 7:30 am, on a road where the IDF hold routine patrols in order to defend the border fence. The soldier was sitting in the back seat of the vehicle, which overturned to its side, apparently after the driver lost control of the jeep. There were no other injuries.


The IDF launched an inquiry into the incident, and the Military Police is expected to examine if there were any criminal aspects involved.


The Hummer vehicle weighs up to 4 tons and its maximum speed is 90 kilometers per hour.


"Unfortunately, when such a vehicle overturns, those who are inside are in danger because it is a heavy vehicle," a military source said. "Accidents happen with this vehicle, but this is not a common phenomenon and the inquiry must be utilized to the fullest."


The IDF has managed to reduce the number of operational accidents in recent years, particularly through training and raising the soldiers' awareness. Eighteen operational accidents were recorded in 2006, in which four soldiers were killed.


Sharon Roffe-Ofir contributed to this report


First published: 06.11.07, 17:00
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