An IDF solider was lightly hurt overnight when he was assaulted at a guard's station in the IDF's Rama Base, north of Jerusalem.
The soldier was assaulted by two Palestinians who managed to breach the base's security fence.
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The assailants sprayed him with pepper spray, overpowered him and stole his weapon. He sustained mild injuries and was treated by IDF medics on site.
IDF sources told Ynet the event was treated as a serious security failure, adding that although initial details point to the fact that the motive was likely criminal, the military is investigating the breach as an attempted terror attack.
Benyamin Spatial Brigade Commander Colonel Yossi Pinto arrived at the base in the early hours of Friday morning, as did Division Commander Brig.-Gen Hagai Mordechai, to oversee the inquiry.
Serious security failure. IDF base (Illustration: Effi Sharir)
Initial details suggest that the Palestinians used the cover of night and the heavy storm that raged in the area to breach the perimeter's fence and sneak up on the soldier undetected.
They threatened him and used a weapon to hit him over the head, before dousing him with pepper spray, using his surprise to snatch his rifle and flee the scene.
The soldier was lightly hurt and immediately reported the incident. Security forces launched a wide-net canvass of the area for the suspects. Shin Bet and forensics officers were called to the scene as well.
The fact that the Palestinians did not try to severely injure the soldier has led military investigators to believe the incident was criminal, rather that nationalistically motivated.
The inquiry will also look at how the two managed not only to breach the fence, but to get as far as the soldier's post without being detected.
Sources privy to the inquiry said that the investigation will also look into why the soldier did not engage the suspects and will try to discern whether he was properly briefed prior to assuming his post.
The question of whether the Palestinians were able to gather intelligence about the base, or perform any reconnaissance will also be examined.
The IDF said that while the solider did his best to protect himself and prevent the weapon theft, the close physical struggle prevented him from properly using his weapon to fend off his attackers.
"This event made everyone very nervous," a solider serving on the base told Ynet. "We're all very aware of the fact that this could have ended with an abduction or murder. No one understands how this could have happened."
Meanwhile, IDF forces operating in the West Bank overnight apprehended five Palestinians wanted for questioning by security forces.
Three men were detained north of Jenin and three more near Tulkarem. The men were taken in for further interrogation.
The IDF said that three Molotov cocktails were hurled at an IDF post near Nablus during the night. No injuries or damage were reported.
Yoav Zitun contributed to this report
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