On August 21st, soldiers from Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) opened fire on an Israeli crop-dusting airplane, mistaking it for an enemy aircraft encroaching the airspace above the Golan Heights.
The Golan Heights is still considered an occupied area by the UN, as well as every country apart from Israel itself and the US.
המטווח שעשו היום לוחמי גדוד 101 של הצנחנים במרכז רמת הגולן על מטוס צילום ישראלי אזרחי, לאחר שחשבו בטעות שהוא מטוס סורי עויין שחדר לישראל. המטוס חטף כמה קליעים. לטייס שלום. זה היה עלול להיגמר רע מאד. pic.twitter.com/9KR2QWAOU6
— Or Heller אור הלר (@OrHeller) August 21, 2019
“Today, the paratroopers of the 101st Battalion in the center of the Golan Heights opened fire on a civilian Israeli plane, after mistakenly thinking it was a hostile Syrian aircraft that had invaded Israel. The plane caught several bullets. The pilot is safe. It could have ended very badly.”
The trigger-happy Israeli soldiers were simply protecting their occupied territory, and didn’t even consider it could just be a civilian aircraft and simply opened fire.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) August 21, 2019
“IDF troops operating on the Golan Heights spotted a plane that they suspected of being an enemy aircraft that infiltrated from Syrian territory and represented a real threat, and therefore they opened fire at it. Once they realized it was a civilian Israeli aircraft, they stopped shooting,” the military said in a statement.
According to Israeli media, Crop-dusting flights are a relatively common occurrence in the largely agricultural area, which has also seen several cases of unmanned aerial vehicles from Syria entering the airspace above.
Initially, the pilot thought he had simply hit a bird, but then discovered he was losing fuel, so he landed in the Mahanaim airfield near Rosh Pina, thinking the shot had been fired from Syria.
A quick investigation determined that they had in fact been fired by soldiers from the IDF’s Paratroopers Brigade.
“As a part of defending the area against infiltrating aircraft, troops are expected to identify and monitor suspicious craft. But this was a serious incident that is being investigated. Lessons will be learned,” the army said.
Guess they skipped the identifying part, as well as the monitoring one. They simply jumped straight to shooting.
It is good that Israel attempts to predominantly use unmanned vehicles, since examples such as these are commonplace.
In January, an Israel Defense Forces tank rolled 600 meters down a hill out of control and crossed a main highway in southern Israel after the crew fell asleep inside the tank.
The crew commander had gotten out of the tank to go to the bathroom, and when he returned, he saw that his Merkava 4 tank was missing.
The IDF spokesman confirmed the details of the incident and said no one was hurt. “This is an unusual safety incident that will be investigated and from which lessons will be learned in order to prevent the recurrence of similar cases in the future,” the army added in a statement.
There was nobody hurt in this occasion, but in April 2018, a 20-year-old Israeli soldier died of smoke inhalation after a tank shell caught fire inside an IDF tank. Three other soldiers were injured, with inhaling smoke and suffering burns.
Even earlier, in 2012, a tank ran over an IDF soldier by accident.
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