Israel Rebukes Troops for 2015 Killing of Spanish UNIFIL Soldier

The state will pay the family $220,000 in compensation for the mishap during a clash with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
UNIFIL forces on the Israel-Lebanon border, 2015.
UNIFIL forces on the Israel-Lebanon border, 2015.Credit: AP
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Soldiers involved in the artillery fire that killed a UNIFIL soldier last year have been disciplined, with Israel paying the Spanish corporal’s family 200,000 euros ($220,000) in compensation, military sources told Haaretz Wednesday.

In the January 2015 incident, Israeli troops fired artillery, mortar and tank shells at a number of points in southern Lebanon. They were responding to a mortar barrage by Hezbollah that killed Maj. Yochai Kalangel and Staff Sgt. Dor Chaim Nini.

According to the inquiry by the Israel Defense Forces, the artillery force’s professionalism was low during the incident. One of its shells accidentally hit a UNIFIL observation post, killing the UN peacekeeper, Francisco Javier Soria Toledo.

This happened even though UNIFIL posts had been marked on IDF maps – their location was even available online.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office said the army regretted that a Spanish soldier had been harmed. “The gunfire was a response to shells fired by Hezbollah, killing Maj. Yochai Kalangel and Staff Sgt. Dori Haim Nini in January 2015,” the spokesman said.

“The response was within permissible safety ranges, and the strike resulted from the possible statistical deviation of artillery fire. Following the inquiry, disciplinary steps were taken and operational conclusions were reached.”

Last month the Spanish press first reported that Israel would pay Toledo’s family 200,000 euros in compensation.

UNIFIL also investigated the incident and presented its conclusions to the Israeli and Lebanese armies in April 2015.

It found that Hezbollah had fired six shells at an Israeli convoy five kilometers (3.1 miles) south of the blue line – the Israeli-Lebanese border after Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. Four shells hit the Israeli vehicles, killing Kalangel and Nini, and wounding other soldiers, as well as civilians.

In response, Israeli forces fired artillery shells, mortar shells and five tank shells.

UNIFIL told Haaretz it had not been involved in any investigation in Israel, Spain or Lebanon, so it would not comment on the Israeli findings or compensation.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid Is the Most Israeli of All

An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

An anti-abortion protester holds a cross in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Roe v. Wade: The Supreme Court Leaves a Barely United States

A young Zeschke during down time, while serving with the Wehrmacht in Scandinavia.

How a Spanish Beach Town Became a Haven for Nazis

Ayelet Shaked.

What's Ayelet Shaked's Next Move?

A Palestinian flag is taken down from a building by Israeli authorities after being put up by an advocacy group that promotes coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis, in Ramat Gan, Israel earlier this month

Israel-Palestine Confederation: A Response to Eric Yoffie