Commanders dismissed over friendly fire death of IDF officer on Gaza border

IDF chief Gantz presented with findings of probe into death of Tal Nachman; series of failures noted.

March 27, 2014 22:36
2 minute read.
IDF soldier

IDF Captain Tal Nachman . (photo credit: COURTESY IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)


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IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz was presented with the findings of the investigation into the death of IDF soldier Tal Nachman, who was killed by IDF fire on the Gaza border in February.

Nachman, a 21-year-old Combat Intelligence Collection unit officer, was killed when a Givati infantry soldier fired on an IDF armored personnel carrier during a routine security operation on the northern Gaza border.

The investigation found that a case of mistaken identity was behind the shooting.

Investigators emphasized that the incident stemmed from failures in training, planning, and operations.

The soldier who opened fire on Nachman was removed from his position. The sergeant of his unit was removed from his role and from consideration for other command positions.

In addition, the commander of Nachman’s unit in the Combat Intelligence Collection battalion was removed from his position, as was the commander of the infantry battalion.

Several other officers received negative notations in their personal files as a result of the incident.

The incident was a “tragic operational incident in which we lost a wonderful person,” Gantz said.

The incident occurred during a routine security operation, during which a Combat Intelligence Collection unit set up a mobile observation post on the northern Gaza border 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 an APC, from which they launched foot patrols.

During one of the security patrols, at around 2 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 retrieve 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.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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