IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi received this week an investigative report on a nighttime arrest operation in the Arab town of Bruqin.
During the operation, which was conducted by the IDF's Duvdevan Unit, Captain D. and Sergeant Major Y. sustained severe injuries from friendly fire.
The investigation was conducted by Central Command Commander Yehuda Fuchs, and showed that the mistake which lead to the injuries of both officer and soldier stemmed from a lack of coordination and the fact that the two were mistakenly identified as terrorists.
It also noted that the arrest which the two were attempting to conduct was part of a widescale operation by the IDF's Judea and Samaria Division, Shabak (Israel Security Agency), and intelligence bodies, and that the operation included a large wave of arrests to thwart Hamas' military infrastructure.
The Chief of Staff declared that the IDF succeeded in their goals for the operation, harming a large portion of Hamas' terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria. He praised the professionalism and daring of the Duvdevan soldiers, thanking the other partners - namely, the Central Command, Shabak, and intelligence bodies - for their cooperation in the operation.
Though the operation was successful, it ended with the injuries of D. and Y., leading to an in-depth investigation, so as to learn the necessary lessons for the future. The investigation showed that during the attempt to arrest one of the terrorists, the terrorist opened fire at the soldiers in the courtyard of a home, and the soldiers returned fire.
The terrorist then escaped the courtyard, and the company commander, who had been outside the courtyard with his communicator, worked to make contact with the terrorist, shooting at him and hitting him. As they ran, they entered the courtyard and were met with fire from IDF forces, which resulted in severe injury.
The Chief of Staff accepted the conclusions of the report, including the mistake of entry to the courtyard without coordinating with the other forces. He emphasized the importance of the soldiers' understanding and controlling the environment in which they operate.
"I would like to wish a speedy recovery to the wounded," Kochavi remarked. "In this incident the soldiers of the Duvdevan Unit prevented - with their bodies - injury to the citizens of Israel. The IDF will continue to foil terror and protect the citizens, as well as to thoroughly investigate every incident, learn, and improve."
"At the same time, mistakes occur during fighting," he added. "We will support you even when you make mistakes. I trust you, your fighting spirit, the exposure of the truth, and your ability to learn."
During the arrest operation in Kafr Bruqin, explosive materials and many explosive devices were discovered, all of which had been intended for use by terrorists who were planning a terror attack in Jerusalem. The explosives had been hidden in a well several meters underground, and were discovered thanks to intelligence information provided by Shabak.
The terrorist who was arrested in Kafr Bruqin during the incident is the engineer of that same terror network. He is the one who planned the explosives and essentially all of the weapons intended for use by the terrorists during the planned series of terror attacks.