Soldier lightly wounded after mistakenly entering Palestinian town
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Soldier lightly wounded after mistakenly entering Palestinian town

4 servicemen escorted out of Anabta in the northern West Bank by PA police; IDF opening an investigation

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

Illustrative. The windshield of an IDF military vehicle is shattered by Palestinian stone-throwers in the West Bank, July 3, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Illustrative. The windshield of an IDF military vehicle is shattered by Palestinian stone-throwers in the West Bank, July 3, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

An IDF soldier was very lightly wounded when rocks were thrown at his vehicle on Monday afternoon, after he and three other servicemen “mistakenly entered” a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, the army said.

The army did not say how the soldiers accidentally entered Anabta, a town east of Tulkarem. In the past, however, such incidents occurred due to troops relying on smartphone navigation apps.

As the soldiers were exiting the Palestinian city, local residents began throwing rocks at the military vehicle, the army said.

The four soldiers, some of them reservists, were escorted out of the city by Palestinian police and in collaboration with the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration.

The IDF would not say where the soldiers had been traveling from or what was their destination. According to Channel 10 news, however, the soldiers had been traveling from their West Bank base to the coastal city of Netanya when they strayed into the village.

“The incident is being investigated,” an army spokesperson said.

This was at least the sixth case this year of soldiers accidentally driving into areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

Police in Tulkarem rescuing two unarmed, female Israeli soldiers who had mistakenly drove into the West Bank town using a navigation application. September 13, 2016, (Channel 2 Screenshot)
Police in Tulkarem rescuing two unarmed, female Israeli soldiers who had mistakenly drove into the West Bank town using a navigation application on September 13, 2016, (Channel 2 Screenshot)

In September, two female soldiers entered Tulkarem and sustained mild injuries from rocks thrown at them before they were rescued by local Palestinian police and Defense Ministry officials. An initial probe of that incident revealed that not only had the two soldiers relied on a navigation app, but they had entered Tulkarem unarmed.

In the most serious incident so far, in February, one Palestinian was killed and several injured in clashes in the Qalandiya refugee camp near Jerusalem sparked by an attempt to rescue lost soldiers.

Each time, the IDF repeats the importance of not relying solely on traffic navigation apps such as Waze.

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