Lawyers representing the Israeli soldier who shot and killed his comrade in a friendly fire incident earlier this week urged the Military Police on Wednesday to cease its ongoing investigation.
Citing his “mental distress,” the Military Advocate General demanded that the interrogation of the sergeant be halted due to the “lack of sleep and stress he is under.”
The advocate general charged that the questioning was “scandalous” and “unfair.”
Staff Sergeant Nathan Fitoussi, 20, was shot and killed by friendly fire near the West Bank city of Tulkarm on Monday as he returned to a guard post and was misidentified as hostile.
Fitoussi was laid to rest in the Netanya military cemetery on Tuesday.
According to the Israeli army’s initial probe into the incident, the shooting soldier followed the military’s rules of engagement – which include shouting at the suspect to halt, firing in the air, firing toward the suspect's lower body and only using deadly force in case of an immediate threat.
The French-Israeli told his comrades that he was leaving to go pray and would return shortly. But upon his return, his comrade “shot him [twice] after an arrest procedure, which included shooting into the air and at the legs,” military spokesperson Brigadier General Ran Kochav told public broadcaster Kan.
It was unclear why Fitoussi was misidentified as a threat. The military probe is seeking to determine how the incident unfolded, why the shooter mistook Fitoussi to be hostile, and why Fitoussi didn’t stop or follow his comrade’s orders to identify himself.
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.