Israeli army probes soldiers seen vandalizing car in Palestinian town

Military says troops’ behavior ‘inconsistent with IDF values’ after clip shows them slashing tires and smashing windows of truck in Ni’lin

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Israeli troops are seen vandalizing a Palestinian truck in the West Bank town of Ni’lin, March 16, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter)
Israeli troops are seen vandalizing a Palestinian truck in the West Bank town of Ni’lin, March 16, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter)

The military on Tuesday said it had opened an investigation into a video circulating online showing soldiers vandalizing a car in a Palestinian town during an operation last week.

In the clip from March 16 in the West Bank town of Ni’lin, soldiers could be seen slashing the tires of the truck and smashing the windows with a hammer.

According to Palestinian media, the truck belonged to a DJ who had been involved in celebrations over the release of the father of the Palestinian terrorist behind a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv on March 9.

Sheikh Salah al-Khawaja was detained in Ni’lin several hours after his son, Mutaz al-Khawaja, shot three people on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv, one of whom died on Monday.

Upon the release of the elder al-Khawaja from custody a week later, celebrations were held in the Palestinian town, and troops were deployed to the area.

The Israel Defense Forces said that a Military Police investigation had been opened into the vandalism and that its findings would be sent to the Military Advocate General’s office for review.

“The force’s conduct is inconsistent with what is expected of it and with the values ​​of the IDF,” the military said.

Last year, soldiers were reprimanded for smashing a car in a West Bank scrapyard.

Also Tuesday morning, the IDF said troops detained 16 wanted Palestinians during overnight arrest raids across the West Bank.

The IDF has been conducting near-nightly arrest raids for the past year amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

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