Middle East

Israel officer killed by friendly-fire on Gaza border

A female Israeli border police fires a tear gas canister during clashes with Palestinian students from Bir Zeit University on January 30, 2014 near the Israeli detention center of Offra, in the occupied West Bank. AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI

JERUSALEM: An Israeli army officer was killed overnight in a friendly-fire incident along the Gaza border, the military said on Tuesday.

The officer had been taking part in a "routine operation" near the border fence between northern Gaza and Israel, a spokesman said.

"The IDF (army) confirms an IDF officer was killed overnight following misidentified (weapon) discharge during routine activity adjacent to the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The circumstances of the incident are being investigated," a military statement said.

Several hours later, Palestinian militants fired a rocket over the border which struck the southern Eshkol region, causing no injuries or damage, the army said.

Two days ago, Gaza's Hamas rulers pulled back a 600-strong special security force tasked with preventing cross-border rocket fire, a Palestinian security source told AFP.

The force was deployed on January 21, but withdrawn at the weekend as a protest after four overnight Israeli strikes on Hamas training facilities across the impoverished enclave.





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