An Israeli Air Force pilot was killed Wednesday after ejecting from his F-16 fighter jet while attempting to land at the Ramon air base in southern Israel, the army said.
The pilot was named as Maj. Ohad Cohen Nov, a deputy squadron commander. He was 34 and lived at the Ramon base.
The navigator in the plane also ejected and was lightly injured, the army said in a statement. He was taken to hospital.
The Israeli Air Force said the jet was returning from an attack on the Gaza Strip. Israeli warplanes hit targets in Gaza after a rocket fired from the coastal enclave struck Sderot.
According to Palestinian media, Israeli jets hit targets in both the al-Tufah neighborhood of Gaza City in the northern Strip and in the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. According to Channel 2 television, the targets included Hamas rocket stockpiles.
The army said it was not immediately clear what caused the two to eject and that Air Force commander Major General Amir Eshel ordered an investigation into the deadly crash.
Ynet said the plane caught fire on its descent.
The jet was an F-16I, made specifically for Israel by Lockhead Martin, and known as the “Storm.” The F-16I has been in service with the Air Force for the last decade.
The incident was kept under wraps by the military censor until the family of the pilot could be notified.
This was the first Air Force fatality since 2010 when an F-16 crashed into the Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert during a training exercise, killing both the pilot and navigator.