West Bank – The IDF launched a dramatic rescue operation to extract two Oketz K-9 unit soldiers who accidentally strayed into the Palestinian Kalandia neighborhood in north Jerusalem on Monday night, and found themselves in the midst of a massive riot.
An army source said the incident began at around 10:50 PM, when the vehicle carrying both soldiers entered Kalandia.
“We don’t yet fully understand how it got there. The soldiers became surrounded in a very big riot, with many rocks thrown at their vehicle. They continued driving, and then Molotov cocktails were thrown at them, setting the vehicle on fire,” the source said.
At that stage, the soldiers escaped their vehicle and split up.
IDF Central Command dispatched large numbers of forces to Kalandia to rescue the soldiers.
One maintained cell phone contact with the army throughout the incident, and was rescued within 30 minutes as he hid in a yard. The second soldier was rescued shortly before midnight.
Neither soldiers were harmed in the incident.
A number of Palestinians were injured in clashes with the IDF.
“Our soldiers are in our hands. We are currently getting the vehicle out of the area,” the source said.
“There are a number of things we will have to check, including the circumstances of how the soldiers entered Kalandia,” he added.
There was no live fire directed at security forces, he said.