Soldier killed by friendly-fire

Errant shots fired as troops arrest 3 Palestinian infiltrators at Gaza border.

March 22, 2010 20:20
1 minute read.
Gavriel Chepitch.

Gavriel Chepitch 311. (photo credit: IDF)

IDF soldier Gavriel Chepitch, 21, was killed Monday night in a friendly-fire incident along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip.

Chepitch, from the 77th Armored Battalion, was part of a military force near the Kissufim Crossing that apprehended three Palestinians who had succeeded in crossing the border into Israel.

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A force from the Golani Brigade was also alerted to the border and spotted a suspicious figure who the soldiers assumed was one of the infiltrators. The soldiers opened fire, killing Chepitch, a Zichron Ya'akov resident.

He was posthumously given the rank of staff sergeant.

Brig.-Gen. Eyal Eizenberg, commander of the Gaza Division, arrived at the scene and launched an immediate investigation into the incident. The Palestinian infiltrators were transferred to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for questioning.

Friendly-fire incidents are a frequent occurrence in the Gaza Strip.

During Operation Cast Lead last year, four soldiers – out of the ten killed during the operation – were accidently shot dead by their fellow soldiers.

At the time, military sources explained that the shooting accidents were a demonstration of the complexity of operating inside such a densely-populated area.

Earlier Monday, a Kassam rocket landed in an open field in the western Negev. Another rocket landed in Palestinian territory.

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