IDF Angry at Wounded Soldier's Comments

Israel Defense Forces officers were angered yesterday by comments made by the soldier who was wounded in Sunday's attack on a tank near the Kerem Shalom crossing on the Israel-Gaza border.

Ro'i Amitai, who is hospitalized at Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva, said that there had been a concrete warning about a tunnel estimated to be 200 meters long, and that the troops were told to be on the alert for a Palestinian cell that was likely to attack.

This statement embarrassed the IDF, which sent intelligence officers to his hospital room, apparently to warn him not to talk about the incident. Many representatives of the IDF Spokesman's Office, who had not visited the hospital the day before, took up positions there yesterday.

One soldier acknowledged that the IDF was angry at the Spokesman's Office for failing to monitor Amitai's comments to the press.

Amitai's mother, Shula, said that after he spoke to the press, IDF officials came to warn him off. She said that this scared Amitai, because he wants to return to his unit.

"In this context, the army does not interest me, but Ro'i is scared that they'll harm him and his future service because of the things he said and the publicity," said Shula Amitai.