Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Capt. Tal Nachman, 21, was killed in a friendly fire incident while operating just over the border in northern Gaza during the predawn hours Tuesday morning.
Nachman was part of a Combat Intelligence Collection Corps operation in Gaza when a passing foot patrol of Israeli soldier mistook one of his comrades for a Hamas terrorist.
According to initial reports, a Givati Brigade patrol along the border fence spotted a figure either hovering around or crawling under Nachman's vehicle. Though the patrol knew that the intelligence officers were operating in the area, the suspicious figure gave cause for concern.
Hamas and allied terror groups in Gaza routinely announce their intention to abduct Israeli soldiers. The last soldier they abducted, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, was eventually traded for over 1,000 jailed Palestinian terrorists.
Apparently fearing that Nachman's mission could be under attack, one of the patrolling soldiers approached and demanded identification. When he didn't receive it, the soldier fired two shots at the suspicious figure.
It would seem that the soldier intended to miss, as both shots flew wide of the figure in question. The problem was that Nachman was sleeping atop his vehicle at the time, and one of the shots fatally wounded him in the back. It is believed the soldier who opened fire did not see Nachman on the vehicle.
It is also not clear if the soldier who opened fire did so on orders from his commander, or was operating under his own authority. The army has launched an investigation into the incident.