An IDF officer was killed and another soldier lightly injured on Tuesday afternoon in a training accident at the Tze'elim base in southern Israel.
The accident happened during a course for company and battalion commanders when a force from the 75th Battalion of the 7th Armored Corps Division fired a mortar shell in the wrong direction.
The officer, 1st.-Lt. Yishai Rosales from the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda Battalion, was participating in another drill nearby when a piece of shrapnel from the mortar shell, which fell in an open area, hit him in his upper body, killing him.
Rosales was 23 years old, from Beit Meir, a religious moshav in central Israel.
Following the training accident, GOC Army Headquarters Maj.-Gen. Guy Tzur ordered a halt to training in the IDF until the initial investigation into the incident is completed.
The IDF is investigating the incident, trying to find out why the troops fired the mortar shell in the wrong direction. Among the possible reasons being examined are human error of the firing soldier or a wrong fire command being given.
In addition, Gen. Tzur has summoned a team of experts, led by the head of the Armored Corps Col. Ophir Levy, to investigate the incident. On Sunday the IDF had announced that three years had passed since a soldier had been killed in a training accident.
During the 1990s the term "Disaster at Tze'elim" became the most-used phrase to describe IDF training accidents. On July 16, 1990, five reserve soldiers were killed and 10 injured, including three seriously, when an artillery shell exploded during a training exercise.
The accident came to be known as "Tze'elim Disaster A." During the incident the Artillery Corps, which was assisting the Infantry Brigade, shot at a target which had already been fired on beforehand. During the second round of fire a number of troops were in place at the target location, and were hit.
On December 5, 1992, foreign media reported on a Sayeret Matkal training exercise in preparation for an attempt to assassinate then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. During the exercise a soldier shot a live missile at a "target," not knowing that the "dry" part of the drill was still in progress and that the fire was supposed to be a simulation only.
The shooting killed five soldiers and wounded another six, and the event came to be known as "Tze'elim Disaster B." The soldier who fired the missile was killed in a road accident in 2000.
In May 2015, a reservist was seriously wounded and another three lightly wounded when an armored personnel carrier overturned during a training exercise in Matzok Orvim in the Golan Heights.
In December 2013, two soldiers were seriously wounded in another training accident in the Golan Heights.
Rosales' funeral will take place on Wednesday night. He will be laid to rest at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.