The Ammunition Truck Disaster


On January 24th, 1970, a terrible accident occurred at the Eilat Military Harbor. Before we get to the outcome, let's review what led to the horrible affair.


Two days before the accident, IDF Paratroopers raided the Egyptian Island of Shadwan, in what was known as Operation Rhodes. The raid lasted over 30 hours, after which the Ahi Bat Sheva, an IDF ship, made its way to Eilat, with soldiers and military ammunition and supplies from the operation aboard.


The Ahi Bat Sheva was the IDF Navy's largest landing craft. On January 24th, trucks filled with the supplies began unloading from the ship and many soldiers were called to help push down the heavy trucks.


At 16:10, everyone in the city of Eilat and the neighboring city Aqaba in Jordan heard the huge explosion. The injured were rushed to the Yoseftal Hospital in Eilat, and at around 18:00, Air Force planes carrying medical staff arrived and began transporting injured people to hospitals all across the country. The explosion caused a big commotion and many Eilat citizens came and helped evacuate the injured to the hospital, and began donating blood.


The commission that was formed to inquire about the circumstances of the horrible disaster, determined that an armed landmine exploded inside of the truck. The landmine was armed against the army procedures, which caused the explosion of six tons of ammunition that were aboard the truck. The officers that were in charge of the loading prosecuted for negligence, but that doesn't really help fix the tragedy that happened. The blast killed 24 people, mostly soldiers and a few Eilat citizens that were hired by the IDF. Dozens were injured.