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Israel May Have Found a ‘Solution’ to Palestinian Knife Attacks

Israel Defense Forces may begin wearing neck protectors to prevent injuries from knife attacks.

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Palestinians and Israeli Arabs have carried out at least 100 knife attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians in recent months. Now, the Israeli military hopes it has found a way of keeping its troops safe: Neck protectors designed to prevent soldiers from being stabbed or slashed.

According to the Times of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces’ Central Command first floated the idea of giving the new equipment to soldiers based in dangerous areas in November. Lt. Col. Liron Segel, who heads the directorate’s Personal Protection and Equipment Department, said that the Israeli-made gear is effective, comfortable, and easily fits with the troops’ existing bullet-proof vests. “I’ve given them a solution to the threat of stabbing attacks,” he said Tuesday.

Although Segel did not elaborate on how the neck guards were designed, Maj. Guy Elazar, from the IDF’s counterterrorism unit, told the military-run publication Bamahane that the “the inner part of the protector is gentle to the touch [and] the external section is made of half-rigid plastic, which is low and wide so as to defend the connection between the neck and the shoulder blade.”

The new guard has reportedly already been taken into the field for testing and will soon be sent out to units operating in areas where knife attacks have been most common in the West Bank. Up to 850 soldiers may participate in the first round before the IDF considers handing out neck guards to other troops in vulnerable positions.

In addition to the 100 stabbings reported by the IDF, Palestinians and Israeli Arabs have reportedly carried out at least 37 shootings and 22 car rammings since Sept. 14 — leaving almost two dozen Israelis dead. During the same time period, at least 132 Palestinians have been killed at the hands of the IDF. Israel says the vast majority were killed while carrying out attacks against its troops and civilians.  

Photo credit: Israel Defense Forces

Siobhán O’Grady is a freelance journalist working across sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked as a staff writer at Foreign Policy. @siobhan_ogrady

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