Elite unit boots soldier who ran from teen stabber
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Elite unit boots soldier who ran from teen stabber

Commander of Maglan says soldier didn't act as expected of a fighter when he was attacked outside West Bank settlement

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

IDF medics treat a Palestinian woman who stabbed a soldier outside the Mevo Dotan settlement in the northern West Bank on June 1, 2017. (Samaria Regional Council)
IDF medics treat a Palestinian woman who stabbed a soldier outside the Mevo Dotan settlement in the northern West Bank on June 1, 2017. (Samaria Regional Council)

An IDF soldier was dismissed from his position in the elite unit in which he served on Sunday for not helping to stop the Palestinian teenager who stabbed him outside a West Bank settlement earlier this month, the army said.

On June 1, a Palestinian teenage girl approached the soldier, who served in the Maglan reconnaissance unit, as he was standing outside the Mevo Dotan settlement in the northern West Bank. When she got close, she took out a screwdriver and attacked him, causing light injuries.

In a video from the scene, the soldier, who was wearing civilian attire and was unarmed at the time of the incident, could be seen running from the girl, not fighting back.

She chased after him with the screwdriver, while an armed, uniformed soldier and an armed, off-duty soldier ran after both of them, in pursuit.

When questioned about the incident after the fact, the soldier told his officers “I was without a gun. I panicked. I didn’t know what to do, so I ran,” according to Channel 2 news.

The uniformed soldier “eliminated the threat,” shooting the teenage assailant and fatally wounding her, the army said in a statement on Sunday.

After an investigation of the incident, the commander of Maglan — whose identity cannot be revealed beyond the first letter of his first name, Aleph — decided to dismiss the soldier from his combat position in the unit for “not working to neutralize the terrorist as expected of him as a combat soldier in the IDF,” the army said in a statement.

For now, the soldier cannot serve as a fighter in Maglan. It is not yet clear if he will be completely removed from the unit, the army said.

The assailant, who was later identified as 16-year-old Nof Infiaat from the northern West Bank town of Yaabad, received treatment on the scene by IDF medics and was taken to Hadera’s Hillel Yaffe hospital, but died of her wounds the next day. (A video from the scene caused a stir mostly, in Arab media, as it depicted passersby cursing the assailant as she lay bleeding.)

The wounded Maglan soldier, who is approximately 20 years old, was also taken to the Hadera hospital to receive treatment for the stab wounds he sustained to his upper body.

The Maglan reconnaissance unit, which is named for the ibis bird, is part of the IDF’s Commando Brigade, tasked with carrying out operations far behind enemy lines. One of the newer elite units, Maglan was created in the 1980s but its existence was kept secret for 20 years. Those who served in it have gone on to become IDF generals, like Tal Russo, Yossi Bachar and Amir Baram, and politicians, like Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Jewish Home MK Moti Yogev.

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