The IDF is investigating a deadly “friendly fire” incident on the Gaza border Tuesday morning, in which a Givati infantry soldier fired on an armored personnel carrier, killing a Combat Intelligence Collection unit officer.
The officer killed was named as Tal Nachman, 21, from Ness Ziona. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of captain.
Hundreds of mourners accompanied Nachman’s coffin to its burial spot at the Ness Ziona Military Cemetery.
The incident occurred during a routine security operation on the northern Gaza border, during which a Combat Intelligence Collection unit set up a mobile observation post in an armored personnel carrier designed for surveillance.
At the same time, soldiers from the Givati Brigade’s reconnaissance battalion were in the area in another APC, from which they launched occasional foot patrols.
During one of the security patrols, at around two a.m. on Tuesday morning, a Givati soldier identified what he believed to be suspicious movement on top of the APC containing the combat intelligence soldiers.
According to an initial IDF investigation, the movement was caused by an intelligence officer who descended into the APC’s cabin to fetch an object.
The Givati soldier initiated the procedure for arresting suspects and called a warning, which the soldier atop the APC apparently did not hear. The soldier then opened fire at the officer, believing the soldier to be a terrorist who was trying to get into the APC.
Instead, the shots, fired from a range of less than 12 meters, struck a second soldier – Nachman – who was sleeping on the APC’s top deck. The sleeping officer was fully equipped with protective body gear, in accordance with regulations, but was mortally wounded in the back. He was evacuated to the hospital, where he died of his wounds.
“Tal was killed by ‘friendly fire’ for nothing,” Nachman’s father, Nasi, told Army Radio. “A soldier from Givati shot him by accident. It wasn’t even in war. I guess God had other plans. Our greatest fear was to become a bereaved family, but the statistics caught up with us.”
“Tal was the baby of the family,” he added. “We were so proud of him. I guess we didn’t take good enough care of him.”
His father described him as a gifted student who followed his brother into the intelligence reconnaissance unit. Nachman was in the process of training to be a company commander, and Tuesday was to be his last day in Gaza before being transferred to a quieter area for training.
Nachman’s battalion commander visited the bereaved family at their Ness Ziona home and provided them with an account of the fatal accident.
The IDF said a full investigation is under way that will closely examine the actions of the infantry soldier who opened fire.