View of Nabi Musa base outside the area where two officers were killed by friend
View of Nabi Musa base outside the area where two officers were killed by friend Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The officer from the IDF’s elite Egoz unit who shot dead two members of his unit in a friendly fire incident this week is claiming that he felt he was in danger and therefore opened fire, Channel 12 News reported on Friday.

"Two gunmen surprised me from very short range, therefore I acted immediately," the officer reportedly said.

The findings of the investigation indicate a lack of coordination within the unit that led to the tragic deaths of Major Itamar Elharar and Major Ofek Aharon at the Nabi Musa base in the Jordan Valley.

At this stage, according to Channel 12, the IDF is also examining whether the shooting took place too quickly, and whether it was right to use the procedure to arrest a suspicious person before the officer opened fire.

The IDF has established a commission of inquiry, headed by Gen. (res.) Noam Tivon, to investigate the tragic shooting of the two IDF soldiers.

IDF Central Command Commander, Major-General Yehuda Fuchs, told Kan 11 News on Thursday that the changes in open-fire rules for incidents of weapons theft had nothing to do with the friendly fire tragedy which left two officers dead.

"The conditions of battle are no simpler, and we still train our soldiers so that incidents such as these do not happen," Fuchs said.

"We as an army are responsible for the results of this incident. This is a very difficult event and it is unacceptable. We must not reach such results. We will learn, we will investigate, we will turn over every stone in order to understand and avoid this in the future. This is our responsibility, and we will fulfill it. The result speaks for itself. If the result is not okay - then the process was not okay."

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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