Israeli officer censured over accidental shooting death of Palestinian toddler


((JEWISH REVIEW)) — The Israel Defense Forces censured an officer for actions that contributed to the mistaken killing of a Palestinian toddler earlier this month and said the incident revealed “gaps in the command and control of the commanders” who were involved.

On June 1, an IDF soldier shot 2-year-old Mohammed Tamimi and injured his father Haitham Tamimi while responding to a shooting near the Israeli West Bank settlement of Halamish, also known as Neve Tzuf. The toddler died of his wounds several days later.

This year has seen an escalation of violence in the West Bank, as more than a dozen Israeli civilians have been killed in terror attacks, and more than 100 Palestinians — both militants and civilians — have been killed amid clashes with Israeli forces. On Tuesday, one Israeli civilian and four soldiers were injured in a Palestinian shooting in the West Bank.

A recently completed IDF investigation of the June 1 incident found that the Tamimis were shot when a soldier fired at them after receiving permission from his commander, mistakenly thinking they were the Halamish gunmen.

At around the same time, however, another officer fired into the air, contrary to orders. The investigation said that the soldier who shot the Tamimis heard that gunfire and thought it came from Palestinian attackers, prompting him to fire.

The IDF is censuring the officer who fired into the air contrary to orders and is still deciding whether to further investigate the incident.

“The investigation revealed gaps in the command and control of the commanders in the incident, as well as in the reports and dialogue between the forces in the field which led to wrong decision-making,” the IDF investigation said, according to the Times of Israel.

Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox, the IDF’s Central Command chief, said in a statement that he “regrets the harm to civilians and the death of the toddler. We will continue to learn and improve in order to precisely target terrorism.”