An Israeli Air Force official has admitted that they were at fault in not removing planes from hangars vulnerable to flooding which were damaged in last week’s storm at a military base in the south.
However, the hundreds of millions of shekels in damage to eight fighter planes and two underground storehouses at Hatzor Airbase was described as relatively minor.
“We were wrong to not evacuate those hangars,” the official said. “It was a mistake and we will investigate the incident and learn lessons in order to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
“At the end of the day, the damage is reversible and minor, and it is mostly technical work to return eight fighter planes – five of which were lightly damaged and three of which were a bit more seriously damaged – and in any case they will all be usable within a week,” an IAF source said. “Already this morning [Monday], the squadron base is back in action and planes have taken off from there.”
Other airbases across the country had been properly prepared for the storm and suffered no comparable losses.
Details of the damage were placed under a gag order by Israel’s military censor in the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s rains.
However, the IDF decided to release details after word of the incident leaked on social media Sunday evening when two unconfirmed photographs from the scene showed an F-16 fighter jet in a flooded hangar.