The Israeli military said two commanders misidentified them as Palestinian attackers near the Nabi Musa base.
Two Israeli officers were mistakenly killed by one of their soldiers during a security patrol near their base in the occupied West Bank, according to the Israeli army.
Thursday’s army statement provided few details about the “friendly fire” incident that occurred on Wednesday night, which Israeli media said was related to a special commando unit in the Oz Brigade in the Jordan Valley.
“The officers misidentified them and they were accidentally killed by Israeli army fire,” the statement said. The families of the officers – Major General Afek Aharon, 28 years old, and Major Itamar Al-Harr, 26 years old – have been informed.
“A soldier in the unit mistook their actions as a Palestinian attack, and as a result [his] “The two officers were killed,” a military spokesman told public radio Kan.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the officers completed a military maneuver in the firing zone at the Nabi Musa base and were on patrol when they identified a suspicious figure. They initiated procedures to arrest the person, including shooting in the air, according to the report.
Then another soldier shot them and misidentified the officers as potential attackers.
This is not an incident that occurred during training. “It’s not that our troops fired on our troops during the exercises,” said Brigadier General Ofer Winter, commander of the 98th Division, Central Command.
The military stated that the exact circumstances of the incident are under review.
“The Israeli army expresses its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims 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 leaders devoted their best years to the security of Israel and the defense of our homeland. All the people of Israel mourn for them,” he wrote.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz sent his condolences to the families and said, “Sadly, nothing can compensate for the great loss of families, friends and brothers in arms.”
Gantz added: “The Israeli army is in the midst of a comprehensive investigation and we will do everything so that such a catastrophe does not happen again.”
Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 war. The Palestinians seek to establish their state on the land and in the Gaza Strip, with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital.