IDF bus accidentally enters refugee camp; 4 troops hurt in ensuing clashes

Army says it is investigating why the military vehicle entered Qalandiya, north of Jerusalem; soldiers fire shots into the air, are led to safety after Border Police arrive

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

An Israeli military bus after it accidentally entered the Qalandiya refugee camp north of Jerusalem in the central West Bank on September 16, 2018. (Twitter)
An Israeli military bus after it accidentally entered the Qalandiya refugee camp north of Jerusalem in the central West Bank on September 16, 2018. (Twitter)

Palestinians attacked an Israeli military bus that accidentally entered the Qalandiya refugee camp on Sunday night, injuring three soldiers and a border guard, officials said.

The bus entered Qalandiya, north of Jerusalem, shortly before 7 p.m. for as yet unknown reasons.

The military vehicle was quickly surrounded and residents began pelting rocks at the bus, the army said.

In response, the Israeli troops fired gunshots into the air to scare off the crowd.

A contingent of Border Police officers stationed nearby were called to the refugee camp to help. The border guards made “wide use” of tear gas and other less-lethal riot dispersal means in order to break up the riot, a police spokesperson said.

One female IDF officer, two male soldiers and a Border Police officer were injured in the rock-throwing attacks and were taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment. There were no immediate reports of Palestinian injuries.

After a few minutes, the bus was escorted out of Qalandiya.

Border guards arrested three Palestinians suspected of taking part in the riots.

According to a police spokesperson, one of the suspects was from Qalandiya, another from the nearby city of Ramallah, while the third did not have identification papers in his possession at the time of his arrest.

The army said it was investigating why the bus entered the Palestinian refugee camp.

In recent years, a number of Israeli military vehicles have accidentally entered Palestinian towns and cities, often prompting clashes with local residents.

Many of these incidents have been traced back to the soldiers relying on navigation applications, like Google’s Waze, instead of learning the correct route as required by military protocol.

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