Palestinian killed, 10 troops hurt in Qalandiya clashes

Intense fighting reported after two Israeli soldiers rescued from apparent mistaken foray into refugee camp north of Jerusalem

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

A Palestinian man was killed, dozens more were injured and 10 members of Israel’s security forces were wounded in fierce clashes early Tuesday morning in the Qalandiya refugee camp north of Jerusalem.

Army and Border Police troops entered the refugee camp in order to quell a riot after a pair of Israeli soldiers entered Qalandiya in an apparent error Monday night.

Dozens of Palestinians were injured and at least one killed in the late night clashes with IDF troops.

The Palestinian man killed in the skirmish was identified as 22-year-old Iyad Amr Sajdiyeh, an Al-Quds University student from Qalandiya.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said Sajdiyeh was shot in the head.

Among Israeli forces, which included both border guards and IDF soldiers, one sustained moderate injuries and the rest were listed in fair condition after being taken to a Jerusalem hospital, according to the IDF.

Media reports indicated that there were exchanges of live fire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen during the rescue operation in the refugee camp, which has been the scene of violent clashes in the past.

The fighting ignited after two IDF soldiers apparently drove an army vehicle into Qalandiya just before 11 p.m. and came under a barrage of Molotov cocktails and stones.

The two apparently entered the camp mistakenly after being directed by mapping application Waze.

The soldiers fled their vehicle after it was attacked and set alight. After approximately an hour, both soldiers were safely extracted from the West Bank refugee camp.

Palestinian gunmen march during a rally at the Qalandia refugee camp on November 16, 2013. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Palestinian gunmen march during a rally at the Qalandiya refugee camp on November 16, 2013. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

As they fled, the pair separated. “One of them made phone contact almost immediately, and within 20-30 minutes the (rescuers) had reached him. The second one took about an hour to make contact, and then (it became possible to) pick him up,” an army spokesperson said late Monday.

One of the soldiers hid in the yard of a house in the refugee camp, where he was found by forces that entered Qalandiya through his cell phone, IDF Spokesperson Moti Almoz told Army Radio Tuesday morning.

The second left his cell phone in the vehicle. He escaped from the refugee camp and made his way to the nearby Kochav Ya’akov settlement.

Both soldiers were armed. “One of them used his weapon to both protect himself and to signal [his position] to the forces,” Almoz said.

The soldiers were non-combat troops from the Oketz K-9 unit.

The incident will be investigated in order to discover “what the circumstances were that led them into the camp,” as the pair did not appear to be on a mission and were not combat soldiers, the IDF said.

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