Photo: IDF Spokesman
Troops searching for the two soldiers in Qalandiya
Photo: IDF Spokesman

IDF investigation finds soldiers in Qalandiya acted appropriately

Military praises quick response of two soldiers who accidentally entered the Palestinian camp, and determined a misuse of the navigating app Waze led to them taking a wrong turn.

An initial investigation into the incident in Qalandiya on Monday night, when two soldiers accidentally drove into the refugee camp and came under attack by Palestinians, found that the soldiers acted appropriately despite the dangerous situation they unwittingly found themselves in.



The soldiers quickly identified the threat, left the vehicle, and opened fire in a manner that allowed them to escape the scene without harm. One escaped towards the settlement of Kokhav Ya'akov and was located 40 minutes later, while the other managed to hide in the back yard of one of the homes, and extracted by Israeli troops 20 minutes later.


The IDF said that if it hadn't been for the two soldiers' quick response, the incident would have ended differently.


IDF troops searching for the two soldiers in Qalandiya    (צילום: דובר צה"ל)

IDF troops searching for the two soldiers in Qalandiya


שליחה לחבר

 הקלידו את הקוד המוצג
תמונה חדשה

הסרטון נשלח לחברך


הטמעת הסרטון באתר שלך

 קוד להטמעה:


The IDF also praised the hundreds of IDF fighters from the elite Duvdevan unit, the Maglan Special Forces unit, the Border Police and the Kfir Brigade's Duchifat Battalion, who stayed in the refugee camp until the two soldiers were found.


The military also said that navigating app Waze was not the reason the soldiers accidentally entered the camp, as the investigation found the soldiers did not choose the option in the app's menu to avoid driving into Area A of the West Bank.


Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon stressed on Tuesday that soldiers "must not forget to navigate using a map and, more importantly, know the area and not be fooled by the directions the technological system points to," noting that Waze simply "showed them the shortest route from Jerusalem to Ramallah."

The soldiers' jeep that caught on fire after being pelted with Molotov cocktails.
The soldiers' jeep that caught on fire after being pelted with Molotov cocktails.


The junction where the soldiers made the wrong turn, which is near the Adam Square on the road between Jerusalem and Beit El, has large and clear signs warning against entering Palestinian villages, but it is unclear if the soldiers noticed these signs as they drove through the junction.


Sign warning Israelis of entering Area A (Photo: Yoav Zitun)
Sign warning Israelis of entering Area A (Photo: Yoav Zitun)


The initial investigation also found that the two Palestinians killed in the clashes with the IDF had opened fire on Duvdevan troops, who returned fire.


The Oketz Unit held an internal investigation to ascertain whether the soldiers had undergone a full briefing before heading out to drive some of the unit's fighters to the Binyamin Regional Council area near Ramallah for operational duty. This briefing normally includes the assignment of a commander for the drive and an advance examination of the route to ensure it does not go through Palestinian cities or villages.


The following legal actions will be taken; The head of the Oketz unit will recieve an official reprimand, the company commander will recieve an official reprimand, and the deputy company commander will be given a suspended prison sentence the platoon commander will be suspended from his position and imprisoned in a military prison for seven days.


The head of the investigation highlighted the responsibility of the commanders, and noted that this was a serious incident. However, he noted the good conduct of the soldiers involved in the event itself.


Tzuriel Hayun, who was among the patrol that found the soldier that hid inside the camp, described the drama that unfolded: "Around 11pm we got a call about an incident happening in Qalandiya. We didn't know exactly what was going on. Within a few minutes, the deputy battalion commander came and asked that we take him to Qalandiya, and during the drive over we understood that we were looking for two soldiers. In the middle of the patrol we received the location of the soldier's phone from military security coordinator, which was nearby. We headed there and started searching."


Shalev Ratzon, who also helped search for the soldier, said that at this point the patrol started calling out "IDF, IDF."


"We called out until he came really close to us. In that moment he called out his name and his army ID number, and we immediately knew it was him. I accompanied him close to the fence while he was inside the Qalandiya area and I was in the Kokhav Ya'akov area until we got him through the gate and into the settlement. He was in shock, very frightened and said that he did not know what happened to his friend and that he may have been hurt. His weapon was cocked. We calmed him down and led him to the settlement."


Kokhav Ya'akov's security team said it had been a tense few months in the area. Only a few days ago, a dummy bomb was found near the settlement's fence, with a Palestinian flag inside. The settlement's patrol also often finds cuts in the fence and thwarts infiltration attempts.


פרסום ראשון: 03.01.16, 23:36
 new comment
This will delete your current comment