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Israel Defence Forces reveal locations of secret bases in error

Israeli soldiers take part in military exercises near the northern Elyakim area on October 14, 2020 [EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli soldiers take part in military exercises near the northern Elyakim area on October 14, 2020 [EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images]

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have confirmed that sensitive material has been published in error, including the locations of secret military bases around the country, Haaretz has reported. The leak contained classified information, including the boundaries and names of the bases.

Haaretz said that the IDF corrected the error after being alerted to it by the newspaper. A military spokesperson admitted that the map was published by mistake and has now been removed from public view.

"The map was from a civilian website that provides global public services for making maps accessible around the world and in Israel," said the spokesperson. "Marking the IDF camps and bases was not done by the military, but copied from the existing map on the website."

The IDF normally doesn't allow the publication of such information, fearing it would be used to gather intelligence or target its bases during a war, it was pointed out.

READ: Israel launches 'surprise' air manoeuvre near Lebanon, Syria

The map was posted to the National Emergency Portal site as part of the army's involvement in the state's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The IDF has been working closely with the Health Ministry and other civilian bodies to set up testing and vaccination sites. However, along with the location of Covid-19 testing centres in residential areas, IDF facilities and bases used by the air force and military intelligence were also shown.

Israel has started to ease pandemic lockdown restrictions, opening restaurants, bars and cafes. Around 53 per cent of the nine million population has had at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, according to Health Ministry data; 38 per cent have received both doses.

Meanwhile, Palestinian cities have introduced full lockdowns over the past two weeks to control rising Covid-19 infections. According to Wafa news agency, the occupied West Bank, where 3.1 million Palestinians live, has suffered a significant increase in the number of new infections. International human rights groups and UN officials have called out Israel for shirking its responsibilities towards the Palestinians as the occupying power under international law.

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