Neutralization of Hezbollah terror tunnels
Neutralization of Hezbollah terror tunnels Credit: IDF spokesperson

Brig.-Gen. Rafi Milo was reprimanded by IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi for leading soldiers on an unauthorized tour of a Hezbollah tunnel into the southern Lebanese town of Ramiyeh at midnight.

Milo, commander of the 91st Galilee Division, was one of the leading figures in the IDF's Operation Northern Shield in 2017, which uncovered Hezbollah attack tunnels extending from southern Lebanon into Israel and destroyed them. According to Israeli news reports earlier this week, Milo led a group of soldiers through the largest Hezbollah tunnel at midnight earlier this year, crossing several kilometers inside Lebanon to the tunnel's origin, without authorization from his superiors in the IDF and without even informing anyone of their whereabouts for safety purposes.

When the incident was revealed, Milo was summoned by IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and the head of the IDF Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Amir Baram. Kochavi was reportedly "outraged" by Milo's actions as the tour was an "extremely irresponsible thing to do" and contrary to military security protocols.

Milo admitted that he made an erroneous decision but he also defended his actions, according to a Ynet report.

“I made an error in judgment,” Milo told Kochavi and Baram. “But I’m a combat commander, and there’s no way that I wasn’t going in to see the entire tunnel.”

"In the end, the Chief of Staff was satisfied with giving [Milo] a slap on the wrist, and nothing more," the IDF said.

Kochavi reportedly wanted to punish Milo more severely but was persuaded by Baram to merely "slap him on the wrist" due to his excellent record in the IDF.