The IDF accidentally killed 5 of its own soldiers in latest 'friendly fire' incident in Gaza, officer says

  • Israeli tank fire accidentally killed five IDF soldiers in a friendly fire incident in Gaza.

  • The soldiers were part of the IDF's Paratroopers Brigade.

  • Friendly fire incidents have become a major problem for the IDF.

Israeli tank fire accidentally killed five Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers earlier this week, an Israeli military spokesperson said on Thursday.

Lt. Col. Nadav Shoshani told reporters that the five men were killed on Wednesday during a battle in a densely populated part of the Gaza Strip.

"There was an incident of friendly fire — five soldiers were killed," Shoshani said, adding that the incident was "under review," according to The New York Times.

Two tanks had fired at a building in the Jabalia refugee camp after spotting a gun barrel they believed belonged to enemy forces, an initial IDF investigation found, The Times of Israel reported.

The soldiers were part of the IDF's Paratroopers Brigade.

The IDF did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Friendly fire incidents are a serious problem for the IDF

Friendly fire incidents have become increasingly common in Israel's invasion of Gaza.

Israeli outlet Haaretz reported earlier this month that 22 soldiers had already been killed as a result of friendly fire incidents during the conflict.

KARNEI SHOMRON, WEST BANK - MAY 16: Israeli Soldiers place down the coffin in the grave at a funeral for Israel Defense Forces Sgt. Gilad Aryeh Boim on May 16, 2024 in Karnei Shomron, West Bank. The sergeant was one of five soldiers killed in what the Army said was a "friendly fire" incident in Gaza yesterday, when an Israeli tank fired on a building the men were in. Seven others were injured.(Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)
Funeral for IDF Sgt. Gilad Aryeh Boim, one of the five soldiers killed in the friendly fire incident on Wednesday.Amir Levy/Getty Images

Former Col. Simon Diggins, a British military and defense analyst who served in the Middle East, told the UK's i newspaper that the number of reported incidents was not surprising, noting that "disease and non-battle injuries" often exceed the number of casualties directly inflicted by enemy action.

"I think it's probably fair to say that the Israelis have a tendency to fire first and ask questions later, but the situation is also very complicated, and fighting in built-up areas is a very complex and very dangerous part of being a soldier," he told the paper.

Last month, a report revealed that an Israeli grandmother had likely been killed by Israeli Air Force helicopter fire after Hamas militants abducted her during the October 7 attacks on Israel.

In December, the IDF also said that it had accidentally killed three Israeli hostages after troops "mistakenly identified" them as threats.

But friendly fire is also affecting operational efficiency.

A US Marine officer said earlier this month that the IDF had shot down 40% of its own drones.

Speaking at the Modern Day Marine exposition on May 1, Lt. Col. Michael Pruden said that "40% of the UAVs ... knocked out" by the IDF are cases of "friendly fire," The War Zone reported.

Drone Pilot Maya O'Daly on July 30, 2019, at an army base in the South of Israel.
A drone pilot in Israel.Guy Prives | Getty Images

Pruden did not confirm where or when such incidents had occurred.

The Marine Corps told Business Insider that The War Zone report had been accurately contextualized but declined to provide additional information.

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