1 IDF soldier killed, 4 injured along Gaza border

Initial investigation shows officers hit by friendly fire as Paratrooper Brigade forces misfire mortar shell in response to Palestinian ambush.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
January 7, 2011 20:19
2 minute read.
Wounded soldiers brought to Soroka [illustrative]

wounded soldier soroka 248 88 ap. (photo credit: AP)

 
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One IDF soldier was killed and four were injured by gunfire along the border fence of the central Gaza Strip Friday evening.

An initial IDF investigation suggested that friendly fire caused the death of Sergeant Nadav Rotenberg, 20, of Ramot Hashavim, and left one soldier in a moderate condition and three others lightly injured.

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The investigation also suggested that forces from the Paratroopers Brigade fired three mortar shells at terrorists who clashed with IDF troops. Two of the mortar shells bombs hit their targets, however the third apparently missed its target and hit the soldiers.

According to preliminary reports, a cell of terrorists was situated along the fence near Kibbutz Nirim and opened fire on IDF troops with automatic weapons and mortars.

Palestinian sources reported that the firefight lasted 20 minutes and that tank shells were fired, according to AFP. There was no word of Palestinian casualties.

The cell apparently waited in ambush for an IDF patrol and opened fire when the patrol passed by. An officer in the Southern Command told Channel 10: "We are still learning the details of the event. The soldiers were transferred by helicopter to the trauma center at Soroka Hospital [in Beersheba] where their condition will be determined."



The officer continued, "From initial details, it seems that we are dealing with a planned ambush by a terrorist cell that intended to observe IDF forces operating in the area where the incident occurred." He added that additional forces were quickly called to the location.

Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported that IAF helicopters fired missiles into the Strip in response to the incident, which the IDF spokesperson declined to confirm or deny.

Earlier Friday, a protest took place in the Gaza Strip over the death of 66-year-old Omar Kawasmeh, who was mistakenly killed during an IDF arrest raid in the West Bank city of Hebron Thursday night. During the Gaza rally, Hamas official Ismail Radwan made a call "to unleash the resistance to respond to [the death]," Ma'an reported.

Also on Friday, the PFLP claimed responsibility for firing a mortar shell into Israeli territory. The shell landed in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries were reported.

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