Israeli Commander Convicted of Reckless Homicide Over Friendly Fire Incident

The commander shot one of his soldiers in the head with a weapon normally used for riot dispersal

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
Israel's military court, last November.
Israel's military court, last November.Credit: Military spokesperson
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

An Israeli commander who accidentally shot one of the soldiers under his command last year was convicted of reckless homicide on Thursday.

A military court found that the commander, whose name was not published, used a Ruger semi-automatic rifle without receiving the required training, and was responsible for the death of Staff Sgt. Yonatan Granot in February 2021 in the West Bank.

Yonatan GranotCredit: Courtesy of Granot's family

The commander took the weapon "out of curiosity" to look through an eyepiece which was installed on it, according to the indictment filed in March 2021.

The unnamed commander of the IDF Nahal Brigade did not check whether the weapon was loaded, and fired at a nearby hill, killing Granot.

The commander's attorney said his client "sends condolences to the family of the late Yonatan Granot and expresses his deep sorrow at the terrible accident that caused his friend's death."

"In our view, the conviction for the terrible tragedy should be causing death by negligence, and not a more serious offense," he added.

The sentence hearing will be scheduled for the near future, after which the court will determine the punishment.

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