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2 May, 2024 16:07

Israeli troops killed by ‘friendly fire’ in Gaza – IDF

A tank fired into a building where military personnel were taking cover, an internal report has found
Israeli troops killed by ‘friendly fire’ in Gaza – IDF

A volley from an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) tank into a building in Gaza where IDF reservists were taking cover killed two and injured two others, an internal investigation has reportedly found.

Israel launched its massive offensive in the densely-populated Palestinian enclave following the deadly October 7 incursion by Hamas militants, which claimed the lives of an estimated 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians. Israel’s retaliatory ground operation and air bombardments have so far killed more than 34,000 people, according to Gaza authorities.

The troops were killed on Sunday in a so-called friendly fire incident, the Times of Israel reported on Tuesday, citing an IDF probe. 

According to the newspaper, in the run-up to the deadly shelling, a detachment of Israeli troops had been ambushed by Hamas militants along one of the key routes traversing the enclave. In the ensuing exchange of fire, an Israeli tank fired a round at an area that had been designated as off-limits by IDF commanders.  

The shells struck a building where other Israeli troops happened to be taking cover at the time, the probe cited by The Times of Israel showed.  

The media outlet, citing IDF estimates, noted that out of the 263 confirmed Israeli military fatalities since the start of the operation last October, at least 43 had fallen victim to ‘friendly fire’ and various accidents. The report listed poor communication as well as personnel fatigue and inattentiveness as some of the reasons.

Since its operation began last October, the IDF has repeatedly been accused of bombing and destroying Gazan infrastructure, including residential areas, hospitals and universities, as well as striking international aid workers.

On April 1, Israeli military drones struck a humanitarian convoy in Gaza, belonging to the relief group World Central Kitchen (WCK), killing seven aid workers, including British, Australian, Polish, Palestinian, and dual American-Canadian nationals. The incident caused a global outcry, with the IDF acknowledging that its officers had grossly violated the rules of engagement. Two were dismissed and three others received reprimands.

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari described the strike as a “serious event that we are responsible for [and that] shouldn’t have happened.” He also promised to prevent such misguided attacks going forward.  

Meanwhile, late last month, NBC claimed that the Israeli military had been bombing areas in southern Gaza that it had previously designated as evacuation zones.

The IDF, in turn, has repeatedly accused Hamas militants of using civilians as human shields, insisting that its own troops are abiding by international law.