Friendly Fire May Have Killed Soldier

An Israeli soldier was killed in southern Lebanon, apparently by friendly fire, during a mission in the central sector of the security zone.

Sgt. Yevgeny Gellerman, 21, of Kiryat Gat was with his unit Wednesday night when the soldiers saw what they thought was a band of gunmen belonging to the Islamic fundamentalist Hezbollah movement.

An order was given to open fire while charging at the gunmen, according to an Israel Defense Force spokesman.

An initial investigation indicated that Gellerman was hit by a stray bullet fired by an Israeli soldier.

There was no return fire, leaving it unclear whether the soldiers had in fact sighted a squad of Hezbollah fighters.

The head of the IDF’s northern command, Maj. Gen. Amiram Levine, assigned a senior officer to investigate the case.

Meanwhile, Gellerman’s parents demanded that a special inquiry be established to find out the circumstances of their son’s death.

The family immigrated to Israel from Russia four years ago. Gellerman was due to complete his service in a few months times and had planned to begin studies at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.

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