The Duvdevan Unit combat soldier who shot his friend Shachar Strug to death told investigators on Wednesday that "It was accident, not gunplay. We practiced drawing a gun in a room on-base, as is common in the unit. He's my best friend and I didn't know it was loaded."
The tragic incident took place Tuesday in a Duvdevan base in the central region, when Staff Sergeant Strug, 20, and his friend were in their room. Strug was hit by one bullet to the chest in what the army initially suspected to have been gunplay that ended fatally for the young soldier.
He was rushed to the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem, where doctors had to pronounce him dead.
Military Police began its probe into the incident immediately after it occurred. GOC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nadav Padan ordered the creation of a committee of inquiry to draw conclusions from the accident, to be headed by 5th "Sharon" Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Bezalel Shneid.
The Jaffa military tribunal extended the remand of the Duvdevan soldier by six more days later Wednesday. His attorneys said he would have "preferred to die himself instead of his best friend."
Thousands accompanied Staff Sgt. Strug on his final journey Wednesday afternoon at the Kiryat Shaul cemetery. After the traditional Kaddish prayer read by his father, his mother eulogized him, saying, "Our world has collapsed. I don't know what a mother is supposed to say when eulogizing her own son."