One dead in West Bank shooting accident

By Netta Geist, November 11, 2011
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The IDF accidently killed one man and wounded three others in the West Bank early this morning.

The incident occurred just after 5am when Dan Mertzbach, a 55-year-old rabbi and resident of the Otniel settlement, passed a makeshift IDF checkpoint on the road between Yatta and Hebron.

The soldiers had been given information about a suspicious vehicle being driven without headlights on and, as the car passed them, attempted to flag down the driver. When the driver did not pull over, one soldier fired eight bullets at the vehicle, killing Mr Mertzbach and wounding two female passengers.

One of the wounded women lost her husband several years ago in a terrorist attack which, according to a resident of Otniel, occurred on the same road.

According to the IDF Central Command, the soldier who fired the shots was then hit by a passing Palestinian truck as he ran towards the car. The soldier suffered minor injuries.

The wounded passengers and soldier were evacuated to Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem.

The IDF Central Command has said that an investigation into the incident will be held. The probe will look into why the soldiers opened fire, since open fire orders in the West Bank forbid shooting at a moving vehicle.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Ministry of Defence has said that due to its severity, the incident will be recognised as an act of terror in order for the National Insurance Institute to assist the families of the injured and deceased.

    Last updated: 12:30pm, November 11 2011