IDF soldier killed in friendly-fire incident in Judea and Samaria

Initial reports had suggested that the soldier was shot in a terrorist attack, however, the military quickly clarified the facts of the event.

By Israel Hayom via JNS, TPS and World Israel News Staff

An Israeli infantry soldier was killed on Monday night in an apparent friendly-fire incident near Tulkarem in Samaria, the military confirmed in a statement.

An initial probe found that the soldier had left an outpost that he was manning and was mistakenly shot by another member of his unit upon his return.

He was evacuated to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba in critical condition, where he ultimately succumbed to his wounds.

The deceased soldier on Tuesday morning was identified as 20-year-old Natan Fitoussi from Netanya, according to local media.

Preliminary reports had suggested Fitoussi was shot in a terrorist attack and that a manhunt had been launched in reponse. However, the IDF quickly clarified the details of the event.

“During operational activity tonight at the seam line (area along the pre-1967 border), an IDF soldier was accidentally killed by our forces. This is a very difficult and unfortunate event that should not have happened. I send my deepest condolences to the bereaved family and strengthen all the soldiers and commanders involved in the incident,” Major General Yehuda Fox, commander of the IDF Central Command, said in a statement.

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“As soon as the incident happened, we began to investigate it and we will continue to delve deeper and draw all the necessary lessons from this difficult incident,” he added.

Chaya Rubinstein, the principal of Netanya high school that Fitoussi attended, said that “even at school, he was careful about the matter of prayer. It was a very important thing for him, he never missed it.”

The family immigrated to Israel from France when he was in elementary school.

Fitoussi “always aspired to be a part of everyone, to fit in, to succeed and to go beyond what was needed. His determination and desire to succeed stood by him and he managed to fit in, finished school with a good matriculation certificate and enlisted in the Kfir [Infantry Brigade],” Rubinstein said.

The IDF has been conducting counterterrorism activity in recent months, dubbed Operation Wave Breaker, to combat a wave of terrorism that began in March.