Soldier killed by friendly-fire buried

Gavriel Chepitch, 21, shot as troops nab three infiltrators at Gaza border.

March 23, 2010 02:01
Gavriel Chepitch.

Gavriel Chepitch 311. (photo credit: IDF)

IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gavriel Chepitch, 21, was buried in his home town of Zichron Ya’acov on Tuesday afternoon, a day after he was killed in a friendly-fire incident along the border with the Gaza Strip.

Chepitch, from the 77th Armored Battalion, was part of a military force near the Kissufim Crossing that apprehended three Palestinians who had allegedly succeeded in crossing the border into Israel. A force from the Golani Brigade was also alerted to the border and spotted a suspicious figure, whom the soldiers assumed was one of the infiltrators. The soldiers opened fire, killing Chepitch.

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He was posthumously promoted to staff-sergeant.

Brig.-Gen. Eyal Eizenberg, commander of the Gaza Division, arrived at the scene, and the IDF launched an immediate investigation into the incident. One of the possible flaws was in the command-and-control systems responsible for coordinating between different forces operating in the area.

The alleged Palestinian infiltrators were transferred to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for questioning.

Earlier Monday, a Kassam rocket landed in an open field in the western Negev.

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