IDF Platoon Dismantled After Soldier Hurt Playing With Weapon

During investigation into incident, platoon's soldiers admitted it was common practice to play with weapons, in contravention of army safety provisions.

An entire platoon of the IDF engineering corps was recently dismantled after a serious accident revealed that a large number of its soldiers were playing with weapons.

The unusual step was taken by the commander of Battalion 603 and the commander of Brigade 7, under whose charge the battalion operated. The decision was disclosed on Friday on the Ynet website.

IDF soldiers in Second Lebanon War, Nir Kafri
Nir Kafri

Three weeks ago, a soldier in the platoon guarding the entrance to a position on the Lebanese border was injured in the abdomen by a bullet from a colleague's weapon. He was hospitalized in serious condition at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, where his condition was stabilized.

The incident led to a comprehensive investigation within the battalion, the results of which prompted the unusual decision to disband the platoon.

Initially, it was determined that a bullet had been discharged by accident. But battalion commanders sought to understand exactly what happened and under more extensive questioning soldiers admitted that it was common practice in the platoon to play with weapons, in contravention of army safety provisions.

At the same time, a Military Police investigation into the incident led to an indictment last week over serious charges related to the illegal use of a weapon and causing injury under aggravated circumstances.

The investigation of the battalion resulted in the dismissal of the platoon commander and two junior commanders, as well as the commander of the battalion. Some of the soldiers involved were also punished.

An IDF spokesman said steps were taken to ensure that similar incidents do not occur in the future.