"Friendly fire" incident between IDF and Palestinian Police. Clearly, better coordination is needed...
Last update - 21:17 05/12/2007
Border Police unit kills PA police officer in bungled W. Bank action
By Avi Issacharoff and Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondents
A Palestinian police officer was killed Wednesday in Bethlehem, and another officer was wounded in clashes with an undercover Border Police unit in the midst of an arrest raid.
During the operation, the Border Police troops fired at an unidentified group of Palestinians, after being fired upon. It later emerged that the source of the fire had been a Palestinian police force on patrol.
An initial investigation into the incident revealed that the Palestinian police force fired at the Border Police officers, mistaking them for members of the militant Islamist Hamas organization. Only after the firefight did the IDF troops realize they had shot a policeman. The mission was aborted and the army left the area without making arrests.
The Border Police troops withdrew from the area with the assistance of other Israeli forces which arrived at the scene after several Palestinian residents began hurling stones at the Israeli troops.
After the IDF learned that they had hit Palestinian police officers, troop commander in the West Bank Brigadier General Noam Tivon and head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai offered to their Palestinian counterparts to provide medical assistance for the wounded officer.
An IDF spokesman said that the incident will be fully investigated. In addition, both sides will team up for a joint investigation into why the mechanisms established for the express purpose of coordinating between IDF and Palestinian operations in the West Bank were not utilized.
A military source said Wednesday evening that during a "good natured" meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials held after the incident, the Israel Defense Forces made clear to their Palestinian counterparts that Israel will continue to foil terror attacks and to arrest militants in the West Bank.