Israeli Military Officer Killed During Training Exercise in the Negev

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The site of the accident at the Tze'elim training base in the Negev.
The site of the accident at the Tze'elim training base in the Negev.Credit: Eliahu Hirschkowitz

An Israel Defense Forces officer was killed and another soldier lightly wounded during a training exercise in the Negev on Tuesday afternoon.

1st-Lt. Yishai Rosales, 23, from Beit Meir, was killed by shrapnel when a mortar round was fired in the wrong direction at the Tze'elim training base during a course for company and battalion commanders.

The mortar exploded close to the area where another unit was conducting urban warfare training. Rosales, a platoon commander in the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda Battalion, was an observer in the urban warfare training.

He was positioned close to where the mortar landed and was hit by a large piece of shrapnel. His death was confirmed at the scene.

Another soldier, who was lightly wounded in the incident, was transferred by helicopter to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva.

Rosales was posthumously promoted to the rank of captain.

In response to the accident, Land Forces Commander Maj.-Gen. Guy Tzur ordered a halt to all training in the IDF until completion of the initial investigation into the incident.

An Armored Corps officer with the rank of colonel was appointed to lead a team investigating the circumstances of the incident. It is expected to examine whether the Armored Corps soldier who fired the mortar had received a mistaken order or whether he acted contrary to the orders he had received.

No IDF personnel have been killed in training accidents over the past three years. The previous fatality was in August 2012, when a soldier was crushed by a tank. That incident also occurred during a course for company and battalion commanders.

Tze'elim has been the scene of a number of training disasters in the past. In 1990, five reserve soldiers were killed by an artillery shell in what became known the First Tze'elim Disaster. Two years later, five members of an elite commando force were killed while training for a secret mission.

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