In an especially tragic incident, two IDF officers from a commando unit were killed at an army base in the Jordan Valley late Wednesday night, the IDF stated on Thursday morning.
The officers, company commanders in the elite Egoz unit, had just completed a live-fire drill at the Nabi Musa base and were patrolling around the base. They noticed a suspicious person and carried out the procedure for an arrest, calling ”halt” and firing in the air.
A third IDF officer in the unit thought the gunfire was aimed at him and failed to recognize the officers, misidentifying them as terrorists who infiltrated the base. He opened fire, killing both of them.
“It wasn’t an incident that happened during the drill, it wasn’t that our troops fired on our troops during the exercise,” Brig. Gen. Ofer Winter, the head of the Central Command’s 98th Division, told the press on Thursday morning.
The officers were later identified as Maj. Ofek Aharon, z’l, 28, of Bat Yam and Maj. Itamar Elharar, z’l, 26, of Bnei Re’em, a religious moshav in central Israel.
The Nabi Musa base, north of the Dead Sea, is located near Palestinian villages, which keeps soldiers on the base in a state of high alert.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi traveled to the base on Thursday morning to launch an investigation into the incident.
IDF Spokesperson Ran Kochav told Kan News that the IDF would show compassion toward the officer who accidentally killed his comrades.
“We will need to support the officer…he of course, did this accidentally, leading to the deaths of his friends,” he said.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)