Father of Soldier Killed in Bungled Raid Seeks Public Access to Internal Probe

Soldier was one of 11 naval commandos killed in botched Lebanon raid in 1997; Father accused IDF of hiding information about incident.

The father of one of 11 naval commandos killed in a botched raid in Lebanon in 1997 asked the High Court of Justice on Thursday to order the IDF to release the findings of an internal probe into the matter.

Moshe Rodovsky accused the IDF leadership of whitewashing the incident and hiding information, and said that the exposure of documents will provide a complete picture of the operational and intelligence failures of the operation.

In September 1997, a force of naval commandos embarked on a secret mission into Lebanon. Near the beach town of Ansariya the force tripped a number of mines, and during the firefight that ensued, explosives the soldiers were carrying also exploded. Eleven soldiers died, including Rodovsky's son Gal, and four were injured.

Rodovsky is demanding that testimonies and conclusions of the four committees investigating the incident internally at the IDF be released.

In addition he is asking that details of the entire chain of command involved in the operation, information on the necessity to carry out the operation, its aims, and the preparations that preceded it be revealed.

Moreover, he is asking for another committee of investigation to be set up under the auspices of a Supreme Court justice.

In his petition, Rodovsky claims that preparations for the mission were made negligently, and that drones had repeatedly photographed the area where the raid took place but relayed their information via non-encrypted channels.

Gal Rodovsky was left on the battlefield wounded, and later died of his injuries, his father says. Rodovsky says that the rescue of the injured and survivors had shortfalls and was negligent.

The IDF set up four committees to investigate the incident, but Rodovsky says that he and other bereaved parents felt that the army leadership was trying to cover up the mistakes.

"Unfortunately," the petition says, "the IDF authorities saw [the parents] as 'enemies' of sorts and that the cover-up, the disinformation, the shirking of responsibility, lack of cooperation, was how they behaved."

In August, Rodovsky and other bereaved parents contacted the commanders from the failed operation, including then-Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, and asked them "sit with the families and tell them what happened in the incident."