Report: Soldiers Sent to Kalandiya Danger by Waze

The burning IDF jeep in Kalandiya.
The burning IDF jeep in Kalandiya.

The IDF has opened an investigation into the circumstances that led to the riot in Kalandiya Monday night, as troops attempted to extract two soldiers who had entered the neighborhood and were unable to leave. The two soldiers were extracted after several hours of rioting by residents, with soldiers responding with anti-riot measures.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said that a 22-year-old man died of gunshot wounds and six others were wounded in the violence. IDF spokesman, Brigadier-General Motti Almoz, said five soldiers were hurt in the rioting, all of them treated for light injuries.

Among the reports the IDF is said to be investigating is one that said that the soldiers entered Kalandiya unarmed. The two apparently entered the neighborhood unarmed, but in uniform and without proper defense; one had no weapon at all, while the second had a weapon, but no ammunition. As of last week, IDF soldiers are supposed to take their weapons wherever they go, especially in uniform, including on days off.

An initial investigation indicated that the soldiers were traveling in a military vehicle and accidentally drove into Kalandiya, where they were ambushed. According to Channel Two, the soldiers told investigators after they were rescued that they were guided by navigation app Waze to drive through the neighborhood. At one point, Arabs threw a firebomb at their vehicle, setting it afire, and forcing them to abandon it. They decided to split up and seek shelter.

The IDF was aware of what had happened and immediately organized a force to remove them. They were able to locate and remove one of the soldiers within a short time of their entry, but were unable to locate the second one for nearly an hour, and groups of soldiers and Border Police, under heavy fire, conducted house to house searches for him.

Once found, the Israeli forces attempted to leave the neighborhood without entering into a confrontation with the rioters, but were unable to. As a result they were forced to open fire on the rioters, killing one. With the forces locked in by the surrounding mob, the IDF sent in heavy machinery to demolish a structure and provide an escape hatch for the soldiers, according to the report.

The IDF said that it would continue its investigation Tuesday. Commenting on the incident on Army Radio, former Shin Bet head and MK Avi Dichter said that “this was a serious incident, no matter how you look at it. Besides the fact that this could have deteriorated into a lynch of the soldiers, the entire situation could have slipped into a full intifada.”

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