Critically Injured Soldier Likely Shot By Accidental Discharge, IDF Probe Finds

A soldier who was critically wounded after being shot in the head Tuesday night was apparently struck by an accidental discharge from another serviceman’s weapon, a military investigation found.

As this was the second time in under a week that a soldier was shot on base, the commander of the Israel Defense Forces’ Ground Forces halted all live-fire exercises until the military’s safety protocol were reviewed by all ground units, the military said.

According to the IDF’s initial probe, the soldier, who remains in critical condition as of Wednesday night, was struck by a 0.22-caliber Ruger round, a type of small munition normally used for riot dispersal. At close range, the smaller round is considered less lethal than normal-sized bullets. This is not the case at farther distances.

A Nahal Brigade unit that was stationed at the Jordan Valley base had practiced using 0.22-caliber rifles before being deployed to the West Bank.

It appeared as though a commander had picked up one of the rifles used at the firing range and the weapon discharged, but the matter was still being investigated.

The bullet struck the soldier in the head, critically injuring him. He was evacuated by helicopter to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem for treatment. According to the hospital, he was in critical, unstable condition.

In addition to the initial investigation by the soldiers’ commanders, Military Police also launched a probe into the incident, the findings of which will be given to IDF prosecutors to determine if criminal charges are warranted.

This was the second case of an apparent accidental gunshot wound within the IDF in the past week, the military said.

On Sunday night, a soldier on a base in central Israel accidentally discharged his weapon, shooting himself. According to the IDF, he sustained only light injuries and was taken to the hospital.

This article first appeared in The Times of Israel, an Israeli based online newspaper.