Photo Credit: Rotter.net
Major Itamar Elharar z'l (l) and Major Ofek Aharon z"l (r)

Two IDF officers, commanders in an elite unit, were mistakenly shot and killed by their comrade on Wednesday night in an apparent case of misidentification.

The casualties were Major Ofek Aharon, 28, and 26-year-old Major Itamar Elharar, who was married. Both were members of the Egoz commando unit.

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The IDF stated that the two officers were killed “during a security patrol near an IDF base in the Jordan Valley. The officers were misidentified and mistakenly killed by IDF fire.”

“The families of the officers were notified. We send our heartfelt condolences and will continue to support them,” the military added.

An initial inquiry showed that the two officers were on a patrol when they identified someone they thought was a suspect and fired in the air as a warning. The person they identified as a suspect, their comrade and an officer in the same unit, mistakenly thought they were terrorists and fired at them, killing them both.

IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Ran Kochav said Thursday morning that the incident is “difficult, painful and unfortunate.”

“At the end of a training exercise of one of the special units, in the fire ranges of Nabi Musa in the eastern Judean Desert, two commanders of the force went on patrol, performed a suspicious arrest procedure and fired into the air. A fighter from the unit identifies the activity as terrorism. Two commanders were killed as a result of the shooting.”

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.