IDF Chief of Staff Demotes Commander

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gabi Ashkenazi demoted the battalion commander for failure to engage the terrorists in the attack on the Nahal Oz Fuel Depot near the border with Gaza.

On April 9, four Islamic Jihad terrorists infiltrated the fuel depot and gunned down Lev Charniak and Oleg Lipson, two Israeli workers, as they ran for cover with the others.

Instead of engaging the terrorists during the attack, Lt.-Colonel Yair Baranes, commander of the 401 Armored Brigades' Ninth Battalion, waited for reinforcements, which is contrary to military procedure.

The chief of staff's decision to relieve Baranes of his position followed the battalion commander's request to Southern Command chief Major-General Yoav Galant.

IDF protocol requires combat soldiers to always engage the enemy, a principle the chief of staff has stressed in the past two years as the army applies the lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.

The Nahal Oz fuel depot, which oversees gas shipments to the Gaza Strip, also serves as a military facility, requiring the IDF to oversee the safety of its civilian workers.

Sources: YNet news, The Jerusalem Post

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