Israel Man Roi Yifrah Impersonates Soldier, Joins War In Gaza, Poses With Netanyahu

Roi Yifrach never served in the Israeli military but apparently used fake identities (Representational)

Tel Aviv, Israel:

He impersonated a soldier to join the war in Gaza, stole weapons after sneaking into an army unit, and joined the fighting against the Palestinian group Hamas. Roi Yifrah, 35, took advantage of the chaotic situation in the aftermath of the war, wore an army uniform to join the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) on the battlefield, and even appeared in a photo next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during one of his visits to the field.

Roi Yifrach never served in the Israeli military but apparently used fake identities to pose as a member of an elite Shin Bet combat unit, reported news agency Reuters. Shin Bet is Israel’s domestic intelligence agency.

Now, Israeli prosecutors have charged him with various weapons offences, along with theft under aggravated circumstances, The Times Of Israel reported. According to reports, he stole military and police weapons with the intent to sell them on the black market.

A photograph of Roi Yifrah in full battle gear posing with other soldiers alongside Benjamin Netanyahu at a helicopter landing site was aired by one of the channels, Reuters reported.

An Israeli official told Reuters that Yifrah had posed with Netanyahu, but said the prime minister was never at risk due to “several layers of security at the site”.

The Prime Minister’s Office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

How Yifrach Presented Himself As Combat Soldier

It was on October 7 when Hamas launched an all-out attack in Israel when Roi Yifrah went to southern Israel, CBS News reported. He presented himself alternately as a combat soldier from elite anti-terrorism units, a bomb dispersal expert, and a member of the Shin Bet internal security service, the indictment said

He was arrested last month and police seized large amounts of weapons, grenades, magazines, walkie-talkies, a drone, uniforms, and other military equipment in his possession, it added.

A purloined haul found in Yifrah’s home included an assault rifle, various kinds of bullets, smoke grenades, and holsters, the indictment added.

Lawyer Says He Fought Bravely

Meanwhile, his lawyer Eitan Segev told Israeli media that Yifrach helped as a paramedic with a first responder organization, and fought bravely to defend Israel for more than two months.

“He was helping people and helping rescue people, all under fire, while also fighting against terrorists,” Sabag said.

“My client is a medic who … saved lives under fire, while risking his life and eliminating terrorists,” the lawyer told Channel 12, adding that “the defendant, under the circumstances, is the State of Israel – not Roi Yifrah”.

The five counts against him, including aggravated fraud and larceny, could amount to a maximum prison sentence of 36 years.

Hamas’s bloody October 7 attack on Israel resulted in the deaths of around 1,140 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Hamas also took around 250 hostages back to Hamas-ruled Gaza, of whom 129 remain in captivity, according to Israeli figures.

After the attack, the worst in its history, Israel began a relentless bombardment and ground offensive that has killed at least 22,185 people, mostly women and children, according to Gaza’s health ministry

(With agency inputs)

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