IDF Criticized for Deploying Non-Combat Staff to Guard Hamas Terrorists

By Yoni Weiss

Hamas terrorists who were caught during the Oct. 7 massacre and during the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip, seen at a courtyard in a prison in southern Israel, Feb. 14. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

The IDF is under fire for deploying personnel from various rear units, many lacking combat experience, to guard Hamas’s elite Nukhba terrorists in military prisons, Yisrael Hayom reported Sunday. This measure comes as the Israel Prison Service struggles with an influx of security prisoners since the Oct. 7 attacks.

Sources familiar with the situation describe the arrangement as “nothing short of scandalous,” raising concerns about the personnel’s ability to handle extreme scenarios. The guards, including computer officers, programmers, and logistics personnel, often don’t know each other and have limited knowledge of combat or defense missions.

This development follows earlier controversies involving the recruitment of female reservists and young female soldiers for the same task. While the IPS is primarily responsible for detaining security prisoners, the surge in detainees – approximately 4,500 from the Gaza Strip alone – has overwhelmed the system, necessitating IDF involvement.

The IDF’s manpower shortage, exacerbated by ongoing combat and training commitments, has led to this unconventional staffing solution. Guards are reportedly deployed for one-week rotations, with minimal time for orientation and task comprehension.

A senior source emphasized the risks, stating, “These ad-hoc groups are expected to perform tasks normally assigned to cohesive, trained military units. The concern is that they may not be prepared to effectively respond to potential security threats or breaches.”

In response to concerns about detention conditions, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi have appointed Maj. Gen. (res.) Ilan Schiff to head an advisory committee examining the detention of war detainees in IDF facilities.

The IDF Spokesperson Unit said in a statement, “The national responsibility for imprisoning security detainees after interrogation is in the hands of the Israel Prison Service. In light of the large number of enemy detainees and shortage of detention places in the IPS, organization and force-building processes were carried out in order to support the operational need of the State of Israel. All IDF headquarters are required to staff various security missions, and the IDF assigns to missions only those who are found to be in appropriate fitness, and this is after preparation for the mission. The treatment of prisoners is done under strict security and procedures and by regular and reserve officials who have undergone appropriate training.”

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