Israeli Troops Misidentify Palestinian Security Forces, Wound One Officer in Fire Exchange

Israeli army says incident happened amid clashes that broke out when soldiers tried to carry out arrests in the West Bank

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Israel Defense Forces in Nablus, West Bank, June 11, 2019.
Israel Defense Forces in Nablus, West Bank, June 11, 2019.

Israeli army troops fired mistakenly at Palestinian security forces in the West Bank early Tuesday, accidentally identifying the Palestinian security apparatus as suspects.

During the fire exchange, which took place in the West Bank city of Nablus, one of the members of the Palestinian force was lightly wounded, Palestinians reported.

The Israel Defense Forces said that troops fired by accident and added that the incident will be probed. No casualties were reported on the Israeli side.

Spokesperson of Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh condemned the incident, saying it marks a "dangerous escalation" on Israel's part, threatening Palestinian sovereignty. The Governor of Nablus also condemned the incident, adding to it Israel's policy of arrests taking place daily in Palestinian cities and villages, including in Areas A, which according to accords should be exclusively administered by the Palestinian Authority

Haaretz was told that a Palestinian investigation of the incident was transferred to senior ranks of the security apparatus in Ramallah, as well as to the office of President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian medics reported that multiple Israeli troops arrived at the scene, and Nablus governor Ibrahim Ramadan said: "The man is in light condition, and we are tracking and checking the details of the incident."

According to some Palestinian reports, the incident occurred after Israeli troops beseiged a compound operated by the Palestinian security appartus while carrying out arrests in Nablus.

Earlier Tuesday, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said that Israeli security forces arrested overnight 18 Palestinians suspected of terror activity and participation in violent protests in the West Bank. The suspects have been transferred for further questioning.

According to the Israeli military, the fire exchange that resulted in the injury of the Palestinian security officer happened during clashes that broke out when Israeli forces carried out the arrests.

As part of the security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian security officers, who usually do not wear uniform, do not intervene in arrests carried out by the Israeli army in order to prevent friction and not to be perceived as collaborating with Israel.

The Israeli army usually operates to prevent tensions with the Palestinian forces, and considers the cooperation with them significant for its operations in the area.

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