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Shooter in deadly friendly fire case says comrade ran at him despite warning shots

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The IDF soldier who shot dead his comrade in a friendly fire incident this week is saying that he followed the military’s open-fire policy and shot in the air, but still felt in danger after the man he believed to be a suspect continued running toward him, according to a Tuesday report.

Staff Sgt. Nathan Fitoussi, 20, was shot dead by a comrade in the Kfir Brigade late Monday, after apparently being misidentified upon returning to a guard post along the West Bank border barrier near the Palestinian city of Tulkarem.

According to the IDF’s preliminary probe into the killing, the shooting soldier followed the military’s open-fire procedures. Those include shouting at a suspect to halt, firing into the air, and only using deadly force if the soldier feels threatened.

Fitoussi told his comrades in a guard position near Tulkarem that he was going to pray and would return a short while later. But when he returned, his comrade “shot him after an arrest procedure, which included shooting into the air and at the legs,” military spokesperson Ran Kochav told Kan public radio on Tuesday morning.

There were several meters of distance between the pair during the late-night shooting, according to the initial probe. Fitoussi was shot twice, and it was unclear why he was misidentified as a threat.

On Tuesday evening, Channel 12 news published what it said were quotes from the shooter’s testimony in the probe.

“I identified a suspicious figure and shouted several times ‘Who is it? Stop or I shoot,'” he reportedly recalled. “I heard no response and I shot two bullets in the air. The suspicious figure continued running toward me, so I shot........

© The Times of Israel

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