12:40 GMT +319 October 2019
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    IDF: 41 Soldiers Died in 2016, 15 Of Them Suspected Of Suicide

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    The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has reported that 41 of its soldiers died while on duty in 2016. This included two reserve and 10 career soldiers.

    Official figures indicate that nine were killed in military accidents, seven died in civilian traffic accidents, 15 soldiers are suspected of having committed suicide, four were killed in action, and six died due to medical reasons. Additionally, some 43 soldiers were severely injured throughout the year. 

    The Jerusalem Post quotes a senior officer in the IDF’s Manpower Directorate saying the army has "a plan to prevent accidents in the army, with education regarding road safety and accident prevention…The IDF attaches great importance to the prevention of injuries and death among its soldiers."

    There were fewer deaths than in the previous decade, particularly with training accidents and suicide.

    The official added that there were 15 suicides per year from 2014 to 2016, compared to the 20 recorded between 2008-2011. 

    The officer noted, "There is a very broad suicide-prevention program, not only in the Personnel Directorate, it is shared by many in the military," and that "We have many partners in this area, including commanders who receive training to identify signs of distress, which aim to help them identify soldiers who may need intervention."

    Currently the Israeli army operates two centers for troops in crisis. The official said that centers run 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, and receive a high volume of calls.

    "In every case of suicide, the military police investigate, and a special committee headed by a colonel investigates to identify systemic problems which we treated, such as the transfer of responsibility for a soldier who passes between units or proper pastoral care." the officer explained.

    Israeli officials have not put forth an explanation for the number of suicides, though the same number of troops took their own lives in 2014. 

    Seven IDF soldiers have been killed in the first week of 2017. A recruit killed himself last week, and on Sunday morning Yossi Mizrachi was killed in a car accident en route to a surprise party in Tel Aviv. Maj. Hagai Ben Ari died last week as well, from injuries sustained during Operation Protective Edge, according to YnetNews.

    Four soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack Sunday when a Palestinian truck driver rammed his vehicle into a group of people near the Old Walled City of Jerusalem.

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    Tags:
    Suicide, deaths, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Israel
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