An IDF officer was killed by friendly fire during an operation in northern Gaza near the Karni Crossing on Monday night, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement.
The officer's family has been notified. The incident is being investigated. Channel 10 News reported that the soldier likely encountered soldiers from another unit who mistook him for a terrorist and opened fire.
Reportedly the incident occurred during a routine operation to prevent the placement of explosives on the Gaza security fence, as well as infiltration by Gazan terrorists.
Brigadier General (res.) Tzvika Fogel, former head of Southern Command Headquarters, spoke to Army Radio about the incident, saying, "To think of it as a mistake isn't right. There are many forces around Gaza preventing infiltration. The price of preventing infiltration to communities and harm to citizens is a very heavy price."
"In an uncertain world everyone is tense and no one can take chances," remarked Fogel. "When you think you see someone crossing the fence and you don't have a lot of discretion, it's because of the proximity to Israeli communities."
The general added that "it could be that there wasn't full coordination - it could be that not every force knows where the other force is located in the area."
Last week, a Palestinian Arab man attempted to run over IDF soldiers near Homesh in northern Samaria, before fleeing the scene of the crime.
That attempt was the second in 24 hours targeting IDF soldiers. Earlier in the day, 19 year-old Mohammad Mubarak opened fire on an IDF guard post next to the Samaria community of Ateret, which lies roughly midway between Jerusalem and Shechem. Soldiers returned fire, killing the terrorist.