'Friendly fire killed soldier during Eilat attacks'

St.-Sgt. Moshe Naftali, 22 was killed by IDF fire when his Golani Brigade unit responded to the terror attacks, initial probe finds.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
August 26, 2011 17:26
2 minute read.
Moshe Naftali

Moshe Naftali 311. (photo credit: Israel Defense Forces)

The Golani soldier killed during the Eilat terror attacks last week died after being hit by friendly fire, an initial IDF investigation into the incident revealed, Israel Radio reported on Friday.

The commander of the Golani Brigade, Colonel Ofek Bucris, presented the initial findings of the report to the family of the soldier, St.-Sgt. Moshe Naftali, 22 from Ofra.

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The full report on the investigation into the Eilat terror attacks was expected to be presented to IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz next weekend.

The attacks commenced at about noon a week ago on Thursday, when three terrorists wearing military vests and armed with assault rifles, RPGs, roadside bombs and bomb belts, crossed into Israel near the Netafim Border Crossing along Route 12 between Mitzpe Ramon and Eilat.

The terrorists spread out about 200 meters from one another and began attacking passing vehicles. They first opened fire on Egged Bus 392 which was packed with civilians and soldiers. At least 10 passengers were wounded, most of them lightly to moderately, after the bus driver continued driving.

Moments later, one of the terrorists opened fire at an empty bus that drove by and detonated the bomb belt he was carrying, killing himself and the bus driver. Another terrorist opened fire at a passing car and killed the female driver.



The attacker then launched an RPG at an IAF helicopter but missed.

One of the two remaining terrorists opened fire at a passing car, killing four people. An IDF jeep from the Golani Brigade then arrived at the scene and ran over the terrorist, killing him.

Another IDF jeep arrived, was hit by a roadside bomb and as the soldiers got out of the vehicle, the remaining terrorist opened fire. Naftali was killed in the ensuing firefight.

St.-Sgt. Naftali was laid to rest at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem the day after the attacks. Among the hundreds of mourners at his funeral was US Ambassador Dan Shapiro and his wife, Julie. They laid a wreath on the grave on behalf of the American government.

Naftali is survived by his parents and seven siblings.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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