IDF soldier dead following alleged West Bank friendly fire incident

The incident occurred near the West Bank city city of Tulkarm


An IDF soldier has died following an alleged friendly fire incident near the Palestinian city of Tulkarm.

It was first reported that a Palestinian gunman was responsible for the incident, however, the IDF soon clarified that the shooting had likely been another soldier.

The Israel Defense Forces say a soldier operating in the Israeli-controlled seam zone area in the West Bank came under fire from another soldier for reasons that remain unclear.

The IDF first reported a shooting attack, and Palestinian media alleged that troops had commenced searching for suspected gun assailants in the city.

A military official quickly clarified that the incident had probably been a result of IDF soldiers and that a preliminary probe found a Palestinian shooting attack was not the cause of the incident.

The soldier who was identified by the IDF as 20-year-old Nathan Fitoussi from Netanya, was transported to a hospital but later died of his wounds.

Israel’s public broadcast KAN cited an initial army investigation on Monday that claimed the soldier had left his guard post near Tulkarm for a short while and had been subject to open fire from his comrade upon his return.

According to military spokesperson Ran Kochav, Fitoussi told his comrades that he was leaving the base to pray and returned a short while later. On approaching the base, a fellow soldier “shot him after an arrest procedure, which included shooting into the air and at the legs."

Fitoussi was shot twice by his comrade, and the reasons for his misidentification remain unclear.

The IDF also said that the soldier responsible for Fitoussi's death was cooperating with the inquiry and that he would be offered support.

In a statement, the head of Israel's Central Command said: “I send my deepest condolences to the bereaved family, and strengthen all the soldiers and commanders involved in the incident. As soon as the incident happened, we began to investigate it and we will continue to delve deeper and draw all the necessary conclusions from this difficult incident,”

Prime Minister Yair Lapid also sent his condolences, tweeting: “On behalf of the Israeli government and citizens of Israel, sending warm condolences to his family and friends, and strengthen you in these difficult times.”

In January two IDF commando officers were also killed in a friendly fire accident at a  Jordan Valley base.

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