The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson on Friday confirmed that friendly fire killed a paratrooper during an operation to arrest wanted men in the West Bank city of Jenin Thursday.
The circumstances surrounding the death of First Lieutenant Ido Shapira, 20, of Haifa, were ascertained after GOC Central Commander Major General Yair Naveh oversaw a military investigation of the incident.
Paratrooper Brigade Commander Colonel Hagai Mordechai visited Shapira's parents Friday morning and delivered them the investigation results.
Shapira was killed when his paratroop unit entered Jenin before dawn to arrest members of the local Islamic Jihad network. At about 5:30 A.M., after the soldiers had surrounded the house where their target, Mohammed Kandil, was believed to be staying, they spotted three men, all armed, inside the house, and opened fire.
Shapira was mortally wounded by a bullet that struck his upper body above his flak jacket and died shortly thereafter.
Initially, the IDF assumed that Shapira was hit by return fire from the Palestinian gunmen. However, during the army's initial investigation on Thursday, one soldier admitted that he mistakenly fired in Shapira's direction.
Since the soldiers and the Palestinians were using different caliber rifles, ballistics tests determined definitively that Shapira was killed by one of his comrades.
The operation resulted in five arrests: the three gunmen inside the house, a fourth Palestinian who was caught when he fled the house before the shooting started, and a fifth, someone who has been on Israel's wanted list for the last three years, who was found purely by chance when the soldiers happened to enter a neighboring house.
Some of the arrested men belong to Islamic Jihad, while others are Fatah members who had been working with the Islamic Jihad network in the northern West Bank. According to the Shin Bet security service, the four men found in the target house were involved in four suicide bombings inside the Green Line that killed 21 Israelis last year - one in Tel Aviv, one in Hadera and two in Netanya - and are thought to have been planning another attack when they were captured.
Shapira was buried in the Haifa military cemetery on Thursday. He is survived by his parents and two sisters.
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