IDF finds Duvdevan troops injured by friendly fire

Two soldiers were seriously injured during a large-scale West Bank arrest raid in September.

THE IDF’S ELITE Duvdevan unit and the Czech Armed Force’s 601st Special Forces Group train together recently in urban-warfare techniques at Tze’elim Army Base in the Negev. (photo credit: IDF)
THE IDF’S ELITE Duvdevan unit and the Czech Armed Force’s 601st Special Forces Group train together recently in urban-warfare techniques at Tze’elim Army Base in the Negev.
(photo credit: IDF)

An investigation into the serious injury of two Duvdevan soldiers during an arrest of Hamas terrorists in September has found that they were hit by friendly fire.

The two soldiers, Capt. D and Sgt. Y., were seriously injured during a firefight in the West Bank village of Burkin when they engaged armed Palestinian terrorists. One of the men was shot in the chest and lost one of his lungs while the other man was shot in the jaw and stomach. The two also suffered from shrapnel wounds.

The wave of arrests in five different locations in the West Bank targeted a Hamas cell that Israeli security forces had been tracking for several days and were planning an attack. The raids were led by the Duvdevan counter-terrorism unit, as well as the Israel Police and Border Police YAMAM and YAMAS counter-terrorism units and the Shin Bet security services.

The findings of the investigation were presented this past week by the head of Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs to IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi.

The chief of staff stated that the troops had fulfilled their mission by breaking up a large part of a Hamas terrorist cell in the West Bank. Sources said at the time that the large and heavily armed Hamas cell that was targeted during the arrests planned to carry out attacks in the West Bank and inside Israel.

IDF soldiers of the Duvdevan Unit (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)IDF soldiers of the Duvdevan Unit (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)

But the serious injury of the two IDF personnel, an officer and a soldier, led to an in-depth investigation.

The investigation revealed that during the operation to arrest one of the terrorists, the man opened fire at the troops who were in the yard of the house, and they in turn responded with fire. The terrorist ran from the yard and an IDF commander who was outside, along with his soldier, fired at the suspect and hit him.

During the chase, however, they entered the yard and were hit by friendly fire.

Kohavi accepted the conclusions of the investigation as presented, the military said, including the mistake of entering the courtyard without operational coordination with the rest of the force, adding that he “stressed the importance of understanding and controlling troops in the operational environment in which they operate.”

Wishing a speedy recovery to the men, he said that “In this incident, the fighters of the Duvdevan unit used their bodies to prevent harm coming to Israeli citizens.

“The IDF will continue to thwart terrorism, protect civilians and at the same time thoroughly investigate every incident, learn and improve," he said. Mistakes occur in combat and we will also back you up even when you’ve erred, I trust you, your fighting spirit, the revelation of the truth, and your ability to learn.“

Five Palestinians were killed during the wave of arrests that took place in  Burkin, Jenin, Kabatiya, Kafr Dan, and Bidu north of Jerusalem.