Near-Lynch Averted, IDF Commander Suspended

An IDF commander and his five troops were almost lynched by an angry Arab mob Wednesday. The commander has been temporarily suspended, after using live bullets to save his and his troops' lives.

, | updated: 17:13

Three hundred PA Arabs attacked six IDF soldiers guarding equipment near Highway 443, one of the two main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. The equipment is being used in building the separation fence. Two Arabs were killed in the confrontation.

The mob of Arabs came from the village of Beit Likiya, southwest of Ramallah, and approached the soldiers near the Jewish town of Mevo Horon. The Arabs began by hurling large rocks at the soldiers, who responded by using non-lethal means to disperse the riot.

The soldiers fired tear-gas and then began using rubber bullets, but the crowd kept throwing rocks, wounding the force’s commanding officer. The commander then fired into the air, but when the attackers still failed to disperse, the commander fired at one of the rioters’ legs and then at a rocky area near the crowd. Three Arabs were wounded and two later died.

Central Command O.C. Maj.-Gen. Ya'ir Naveh announced the suspension of the commander in charge of the force from operational activity until the full inquiry into the incident is completed.

“The company commander was suspended in light of errors both in the way he conducted himself and in the way in which he commanded his force,” an IDF spokesman said. Asked to elaborate, an IDF spokesperson told Arutz-7 that he may have fired too quickly, and that he should have been aware that shooting at rocks would cause the bullets to ricochet unpredictably. She acknowledged, however, that the soldiers "faced a very scary situation" and that the commander would likely be reinstated after the investigation is completed.

Border Guard police arrested an Arab yesterday who possessed the gun used in the murder of a guard several months ago several miles north of Be'er Sheva. He was arrested near a village between Beit Guvrin, where the guard was murdered, and Kiryat Arba.

Also Wednesday, terrorists shot at IDF soldiers patrolling the Philadelphi Route on the Israel-Egyptian border. Defense officials also announced they neutralized a 40-kilogram (88-pound) bomb that was discovered several days ago.

Last night, IDF soldiers arrested four Arabs attempting to infiltrate the fence surrounding central Gaza. Fifty-five infiltration attempts have been thwarted in recent months.

Mortar shell attacks were reported in the southern Gaza Jewish communities of Ganei Tal and N’vei Dekalim late last night. There were no injuries reported in either attack. Terrorists based in northern Gaza also fired Kassam rockets into Sderot, in the western Negev. The rockets landed in open areas and failed to cause injuries.