Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Two commanders were incorrectly identified as Palestinian attackers near the Nabi Musa base, the Israeli army said.

According to the Israeli army, two Israeli officers were accidentally killed by one of their own troops during a security patrol near their base in the occupied West Bank.

The statement from the army on Thursday gave little detail about Wednesday night’s “friendly fire” incident, which according to Israeli media involved the Oz Brigade’s elite commando Egoz unit in the Jordan Valley.

“The officers were incorrectly identified and were accidentally killed by IDF fire,” the statement said. The families of the officers – identified as Major Ofek Aharon (28) and Major Itamar Elharar (26) – were notified.

“A soldier in the unit misjudged their actions for a Palestinian attack, and as a result of [his] the two officers were killed, “a military spokesman told Kan Public Radio.

The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported the officers had completed a military exercise in the fire zone of the Nabi Musa base and were on patrol when they identified a suspicious figure. They started the procedure to arrest the individual, including shooting in the air, according to the report.

They were then shot at by another soldier who incorrectly identified the officers as possible attackers.

“This is not an incident that happened during the exercise. It is not that our troops fired on our troops during the exercise, “said Brigadier General Ofer Winter, head of the Central Command’s 98th Division.

The exact circumstances of the incident are being investigated, according to the military.

“The IDF expresses its deepest condolences to the bereaved families and will continue to support them,” the statement said.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also expressed his regret over the incident on Twitter.

“The two commanders have dedicated their best years to the security of Israel and the defense of our homeland. The whole nation of Israel mourns over them, “he wrote.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz sent his condolences to the families, saying “unfortunately there is nothing that can make up for the great loss to the families, friends and brothers-in-arms”.

“The IDF is in the midst of a comprehensive investigation and we will do everything we can to prevent such a disaster from happening again,” Gantz added.

Israel occupied the West Bank in a 1967 war. Palestinians seek to establish a state in the area and in the Gaza Strip, with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital.

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