JERUSALEM, March 4, 2010 -- The Israeli military had to cancel an operation to arrest Palestinian militants in the West Bank several weeks ago after a soldier posted details of the mission on his Facebook page.
The unnamed soldier posted the following message: "On Wednesday we are cleaning out the village of Katana (nr Ramallah) – today and arrest operation, tomorrow an arrest operation and then please god, home by Thursday."
Comrades in his artillery unit saw the post and reported it to their commanding officer. The officer then decided to cancel the mission for fears that operational security had been breached.
The soldier was arrested and placed in custody for 10 days before being forced to leave his unit for good.
This is not the first time Israeli military security has been compromised by soldiers using social media sites such as Facebook. Thousands of soldiers and officers in the Israeli military are thought to be Facebook users.
In 2008 a soldier serving in an intelligence unit was jailed for 19 days for uploading a picture onto Facebook which revealed sensitive military information.
In response to the latest incident the army's Information Security department issued a letter to soldiers warning: "Enemy intelligence scans the Internet in search of pieces of information about the IDF, information that could sabotage operations and endanger our forces."
"Soldiers Need to be Smart"
There are particular fears over the increasing sophistication of some of Israel's enemies including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas, which now controls Gaza.
Lt. Colonel Eyal Nahum of the IDF told the Jerusalem Post, "Soldiers need to be smart with their use of these sites. We see more activity on the internet. All one needs is Internet access and to search for a few key words and begin collecting intelligence."