IDF officer killed in Gaza op was killed by friendly fire

Report on botched IDF operation in Gaza reveals errors which led to discovery of Israeli unit - and death of IDF officer by friendly fire.

David Rosenberg,

Scene of battle in Gaza during which Lieutenant Col. M. was killed
Scene of battle in Gaza during which Lieutenant Col. M. was killed

The Israeli officer who died during a botched undercover operation deep inside the Gaza Strip last year was killed by friendly fire, an IDF report has revealed.

On Sunday, the Israeli military announced that an in-depth report on a November 11th 2018 undercover IDF operation in Gaza, its discovery by Hamas terrorists, and the subsequent battle had been completed and turned over to IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi.

The operation, the details of which remain classified, failed to achieve its goal, Kochavi said, adding that close examination of the events revealed a number of mistakes during the planning and execution of the operation.

A special review committee established to probe the incident reached its conclusions following a lengthy investigation, delivering its report to Kochavi, s well as commanders from the Special Forces, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, the Head of the Operations Directorate, the Head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, the Commander of the Israeli Air Force, and the Head of the General Staff Review Committee, Maj. Gen (Res.) Nitzan Alon.

According to the report, Lieutenant Colonel M. – whose identity remains classified – was killed by accident, as the result of stray friendly fire.

In the wake of the incident and the subsequent investigation, the Chief of Staff said, the army has modified its own operational protocol to prevent a repeat of the same errors which led to the secret force’s discovery while still inside the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who also holds the Defense portfolio, praised the soldiers involved in the top secret operation, and vowed that the lessons learned from the incident would be implemented.

"The lessons will be learned and the recommendations will be implemented. I commend the courage of the soldiers and pilots who operated in very difficult conditions, and the heroic rescue action. On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I would like to stand by the family of Lt.-Col. M for his heroism and his efforts."

Lieutenant Colonel M., a 41-year-old father of two, was killed and a second Israeli officer seriously wounded after an undercover Israeli force was discovered by Hamas terrorists operating inside the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, near Khan Yunis last November.

During the ensuing battle, Israeli aircraft provided cover for the IDF unit as it withdrew from the Gaza Strip.
Seven Hamas terrorists were killed during the battle, including Nur Barakeh, commander of the eastern battalion of Hamas’ Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades in Khan Yunis.