Two Israeli army officers fell victim to a tragic shooting accident on Wednesday night during a security patrol near an IDF base in the Jordan Valley.
The friendly-fire incident was the result of mistaken identity leading to the fatal exchange of fire. The IDF Spokesman said that the families of the two victims had been notified.
After initial investigations, it was determined that the two officers were on patrol near the base when they spotted another figure and, believing it to be a terror suspect, fired their guns into the air. The other figure, who turned out to be a soldier from the same unit, believed he was under attack from terrorists and returned fire, killing the two officers.
The two fallen soldiers were identified as Ofek Aharon, 28, and Itamar Elharar, 26.
Maj. Ofek Aharon, age 28.
Maj. Itamar Elharar, age 26 and married.
These are the Egoz Unit company commanders that were misidentified & mistakenly killed by IDF fire during a security patrol last night.
May their memories be a blessing. pic.twitter.com/Tc5RP3xzX5
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) January 13, 2022
Prime Minister Naftali Bennet commented on the incident on Twitter and offered his condolences to the families of the victims.
זהו בוקר עצוב מאד.
אני מבקש למסור תנחומים מעומק הלב למשפחותיהם של שני הקצינים אשר נהרגו הלילה בתאונה טראגית.
שני המפקדים הקדישו את שנותיהם הטובות ביותר לביטחון ישראל ולהגנה על המולדת.
עם ישראל כולו אבל על לכתם.
צה”ל מתחקר את האירוע הקשה והלקחים הנדרשים יופקו.
יהי זכרם ברוך.
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) January 13, 2022
“This is a very sad morning.
“I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of the two officers who were killed last night in a tragic accident.
“The two commanders devoted their best years to Israel’s security and defense of the homeland. The whole nation of Israel mourns their passing.
“The IDF is investigating the difficult incident and the necessary lessons will be learned.
“May they rest in peace.”