IDF Soldier Killed by Friendly Fire on Gaza Border

Golani troops open fire on comrades after mistaking tank soldiers for terrorists.

An IDF solider was killed on Monday evening by friendly fire on the border with the Gaza Strip, the army has confirmed.

The dead man was later named as 21-year-old Sergeant Gabriel Cepic from Zikhron Ya'akov. Cepic is survived by his mother, father, older brother and younger sister who is currently serving in the IDF.

According to an army spokesman, the IDF received a report of three Palestinians who had crossed the border fence between Re'im and Kissufim. IDF forces, including a tank unit, were summoned to the scene.

Three soldiers descended from the tank and approached the fence by foot due to a regulation forbidding them from firing shells in the area for fear of hitting civilians.

At the same time, a jeep of soldiers from the army's Golani brigade also arrived in the area. Believing the tank troops to be terrorists, the Golani soldiers opened fire.

One soldiers was killed before the troops realized their error and ceased firing.

The three Palestinian infiltrators were captured and brought in for interrogation. During questioning, it became clear that the three were not terrorists but had attempted to enter Israel to look for work, the army said.

The IDF has opened an inquiry into the incident.

According to Reuters, a Palestinian security source in Gaza said Israel fired artillery into the area shortly afterwards and medics reported there was one man wounded, but it was unclear in which incident he had been hit.

Tensions have run high along the Israel-Gaza frontier this month, with Israel launching repeated air strikes at the Hamas-ruled territory in response to rocket attacks by militants which killed a Thai worker in southern Israel last week.