Two Israeli soldiers were killed and a third seriously injured in an accident early Sunday morning in the Golan Heights.
A live grenade carried in one of the soldier’s vests reportedly detonated inside a patrol jeep around the Hermon near the Syrian border.
The soldiers have been identified as 20-year-old Sergeant Shlomo Rindenow and 24-year-old Sergeant First Class Hussam Tapesh. Rindenow is from Sde Yoav, and is a dual Israeli-US citizen whose family resides in New Jersey. Tapesh is from the Druze village of Beit Jann.
Both victims’ families have been informed of the tragedy. An army spokesperson says that the IDF shares in their sorrow, and will continue to assist the families.
General Aviv Kochavi, the commander of the IDF’s northern command, has appointed a team of specialists to investigate the incident. So far it is known that a military jeep stopped about a meter and a half from the wall at a lower Mount Hevron checkpoint. The driver exited while holding a grenade, though his reason for doing so is still unclear.
The driver then went around the jeep and approached an open door on the other side. Shortly afterwards, the explosion killed the driver and a soldier from the base who was not in the vehicle. The commander and two other soldiers present were also wounded.
A helicopter quickly arrived to evacuate the three to Haifa’s Rambam Hospital.
Dr. Hany Bahouth, the head of Rambam’s trauma department, said: “One soldier is in moderate to serious condition and is suffering from shrapnel injuries across his body. He was transferred to the surgery ward, where additional orthopedists and surgeons are treating him.
“The other two are lightly wounded. They seem to have been lightly struck by the blast. They are now under supervision.”