IDF Probe: Soldiers in Kalandiya Acted Properly

A Palestinian man passes a vehicle that was damaged during an Israeli army raid in the West Bank refugee camp of Qalandia, at the outskirts of Ramallah, Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Israeli troops raided a Palestinian refugee camp north of Jerusalem early Tuesday to rescue a pair of soldiers who had lost their way and came under attack in the area, the military said. Palestinian health officials said 22 year-old Palestinian Eyad Sajadiyeh was killed and four others were wounded in the ensuing clashes. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
A Palestinian man passes an Israeli vehicle that was damaged during an IDF raid in Kalandiya, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

An initial investigation into the incident in Kalandiya Monday night found that the soldiers acted appropriately despite the dangerous situation they unwittingly found themselves in, Yediot Aharonot reports.

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 Kochav Yaakov and was located 40 minutes later, while the other managed to hide in the back yard of one of the homes, and was extricated 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.

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.

The problem was apparently that the soldiers had not 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 receive an official reprimand, the company commander will receive an official reprimand, the deputy company commander will be given a suspended prison sentence and 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.