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IDF probe of Gaza shooting finds troops hampered by blind spots, poor planning

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Initial findings from the military’s investigation into the violence along the Gaza border on Saturday indicated that the troops were unprepared for the sudden rush of rioters toward the security fence, during which a Border Police officer was shot and seriously injured and a soldier’s gun was nearly stolen.

The soldiers stationed on the border did not immediately open fire at the masses that suddenly attacked the fence, out of concern that they might hit the civilians that were in the area, a military official said.

The Israel Defense Forces has yet to complete a full probe of Saturday’s events, and is looking into all aspects of the day, from how troops were deployed along the border to the exact lead-up to the shooting, and how the forces responded to it, she said, adding that the military saw the incident as a grave violation of Israeli sovereignty.

Though the IDF prepared for Saturday’s border protest — deploying additional troops to the security fence — it had incorrectly predicted that the demonstration would be far less violent, in light of Hamas’s public statements to that effect ahead of time.

According to the IDF, members of Hamas’s so-called restraining force were present during the protest, keeping back demonstrators who got too close to the border.

At a certain point on Saturday, however, dozens of rioters rushed directly up to the security barrier near the unused Karni crossing, to a section of concrete wall behind which Border Police officer Barel Hadaria Shmueli, 21, was stationed as a sniper.

The section of concrete wall where the attack happened was specifically built following a series of regular riots along the Gaza border in 2018. However, it only works as a proper defensive position when rioters are a good distance away, as snipers can fire at potential threats through the small opening,........

© The Times of Israel

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