2 IDF soldiers mistakenly enter West Bank city, are rescued

2 IDF soldiers mistakenly enter West Bank city, are rescued

Troops venture into Tulkarem, escape unharmed after local residents throw stones at their vehicle; Hebrew report says PA cops rescued them

Illustrative photo of Tulkarem (screen capture: YouTube)
Illustrative photo of Tulkarem (screen capture: YouTube)

Two female IDF soldiers were rescued from the West Bank city of Tulkarem on Monday, after they mistakenly entered the area and had rocks thrown at their vehicle, an army spokesperson said.

When the army received reports that the soldiers had accidentally entered the Palestinian city, the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit, along with the Israel Police, hastened to rescue the soldiers.

Once they were extracted from Tulkarem, the soldiers “were transferred to IDF custody,” a spokesperson said.

It was not immediately clear how the soldiers mistakenly entered the city, the spokesperson added.

“The incident will be investigated,” the army said.

In contrast to the army’s account, Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday that the two soldiers were rescued by Palestinian police, who extracted them from the area where they were being stoned and took them to a local police station, from where they were subsequently transferred to the Israeli authorities.

In March, two Israeli soldiers accidentally drove an army vehicle into Qalandiya refugee camp, prompting deadly clashes between Palestinians and IDF forces after a rescue operation. The two were apparently guided into the volatile camp by Waze, the popular Israeli-made GPS navigation application.

As the soldiers drove through, a group of Palestinians attacked their vehicle with rocks and firebombs. The jeep caught fire, forcing the two to flee the scene.

Considerable forces scrambled to the area, sparking violent clashes between the IDF and Palestinians and resulting in 10 wounded Israeli soldiers, of whom one was injured moderately and the rest lightly. Palestinian news agencies reported 10 injured civilians and one dead in the March clashes. The Palestinian man killed in the skirmish was identified as 22-year-old Iyad Amr Sajdiyeh, an Al-Quds University student from Qalandiya.

Waze also came under criticism in 2013, after a glitch sent drivers onto a flooded Tel Aviv highway.

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