An Israeli officer was killed early Tuesday by friendly fire during an IDF operation in the northern Gaza Strip, near the border fence.
The slain officer was identified as Capt. Tal Nachman, 21, from Ness Ziona.
Based on initial reports, the incident occurred when a force from the Givati Brigade was providing security to a vehicle from the Combat Intelligence Collection Corps just inside the border fence opposite Kibbutz Be’eri, according to Israel Radio.
Shortly before 2 a.m., Givati soldiers left their Achzarit armored vehicle to conduct a foot patrol in the area. The infantry force noticed a figure on the intelligence vehicle, and went through the procedure for identifying a suspicious person.
It was unclear if an order was given to shoot, and if so by whom, but one of the Givati soldiers lying on the ground opened fire at the suspicious figure from a distance of less than 20 meters, missing him entirely. At least one of the bullets he fired hit Nachman instead, who was lying on top of the vehicle at the time.
Initial reports indicated that the soldier seen by the infantrymen had gotten out of the vehicle to retrieve an item from an external compartment.
Efforts and threats by Hamas and other Gaza extremist groups to kidnap soldiers remain a serious concern for the IDF, which may have played a factor in the infantry force’s reaction to the suspicious figure on the vehicle.
Nachman’s family was contacted and the circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated by the IDF.
Nachman’s funeral took place Tuesday afternoon at the Ness Ziona military cemetery.