Danger in Qalandiya: minute by minute
The IDF faced a nightmare scenario Monday night when two soldiers mistakenly entered the Qalandiya refugee camp, allegedly because of a navigation app; a firebomb set their unarmed military vehicle ablaze, causing them to split up; one made his way to safety, while the other was only extricated after an hour of firefights.
Two soldiers mistakenly entered the Qalandiya refugee camp on Monday night, allegedly because they were using the Waze navigation app. The incident ended only after a nerve-wracking hour, during which rioting and exchanges of fire ccurred. Five Border Policemen were wounded. This is the sequence of events during the tense night, based on reports and military sources.
10:40 PM: Two Oketz Unit (Special Forces) soldiers enter Qalandiya refugee camp in an unarmored military vehicle after getting lost en route from Beit El to their base. They apparently entered through the central checkpoint that serves as the entrance to the camp. According to an initial assessment, the pair mistakenly entered the camp because they were relying on the Waze navigation app, which reportedly caused them to turn towards the town of Al-Ram.
10:50 PM: The Judea and Samaria Division gets the first report of the troop’s presence in the camp from one of the two soldiers. Palestinians encounter the soldiers and begin throwing stones and firebombs. One Molotov cocktail sets the soldiers’ vehicle on fire while they are still inside. The soldiers get out of the vehicle as a crowd of Palestinians approaches and the vehicle begins t go up in flames. The IDF believes that their escape from the vehicle prevented them from being killed.
10:55 PM: The two soldiers, both armed, split up. The abandoned vehicle is burned by Palestinians. Contact is lost with one of the soldiers, while the other marches east to the area of the Kokhav Ya’aov Jewish settlement, where he is picked up by the IDF.
11:00 PM: Hannibal Directive declared and Special Forces are deployed for fear of a hostage situation after contact is lost. Large numbers of IDF troops surround the camp. The military fires flares and helicopters fly over the camp.
11:50 PM: Over the course of a violent riot by Palestinians that includes throwing of stone, Molotov cocktails, and improvised explosive devices, as well as shooting towards the IDF troops, the soldier is found in a yard, where he had been hiding for nearly an hour. They rescue him unharmed.
2:30 AM: The IDF extracts the military vehicle as rioting continues. Five Border Policemen are wounded, including one moderately, and are taken for medical treatment. A Palestinian youth is killed in exchanges of fire and riots throughout the night, while another 10 are wounded.