IDF soldier who accidentally killed friend to be released from prison

"N" was sentenced to 18 months in prison for killing Shachar Strug during gunplay last year.

By
February 25, 2019 21:41
2 minute read.
IDF soldiers

An Israel Defense Force soldier from the 401th Brigade. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

 
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The elite Duvdevan soldier who last March accidentally shot and killed his friend, St.-Sgt. Shachar Strug, has had his sentenced reduced and will be released from prison in less than two months.

On Sunday, the IDF’s parole board announced that the soldier, identified as N., will be released on April 19 ahead of Passover.

According to Channel 10, the reasons behind his early release were his rehabilitation, his remorse for Strug’s death and his admission of guilt in the incident.

N. admitted to shooting Strug while the two were playing with their weapons. Due to his combat service and contribution to the unit, the charges against him were downgraded from murder to causing death by negligence.

He was convicted in July and was sentenced to 18 months in prison and 12 months of probation. He was lowered in rank from first sergeant to private.

Strug, from Givatayim, was seriously injured after he was shot by N.’s pistol, which was fired without a safety plug as the two were waiting for a training exercise on an IDF base in the center of the country. Strug was evacuated to Hadassah University Medical Center on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, where doctors pronounced his death.

According to the military advocate-general’s indictment, the team was supposed to begin training at 7:30 p.m. on March 20, but the drill had been delayed by half an hour.

“At about 7:50 p.m., due to the free time created in light of schedule changes, the defendant went to his room... A short while after that, the deceased also entered the room, the two stood in front of each other and drew their Glock 19 personal guns. The defendant’s gun was loaded without a security rod unlike the deceased’s gun. The defendant drew his gun, aimed it at the deceased’s torso, cocked it and pulled the trigger,” the indictment read.

According to the IDF committee’s report on the incident, N. confessed immediately to his commanders, saying, “What have I done? I killed my friend, I ruined my life.”

During a hearing at the Jaffa Military Court in July he burst into tears, apologizing to Strug’s parents.

“First of all, the most important thing for me is to apologize to the Strug family, to see them and talk to them, to tell them that I am sorry,” he was quoted by Walla news as saying at the time. “Shahar and I were the best of friends, he was not only a friend during the army but also a friend for life. It hurts the most that no matter what I do, I cannot heal the Strug family’s pain. I just want to tell them that I am sorry and that I love them. I hope that in the future they will be able to forgive me, if it is possible.”

The investigation into Strug’s death also found three other similar incidents of illegal use of firearms by other soldiers in the elite Duvdevan unit. None of the other cases led to fatalities.

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