(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman praised the Palestinian security officials who helped extract two IDF soldiers who accidentally drove into Jenin on Monday.
“Thanks to the cooperation and security coordination we saw the results,” Liberman said during a visit to Kiryat Shmona. “The Palestinian officers and the security coordination deserve a good word. The Palestinians also understand that the security coordination is a mutual interest, which is why we work to preserve it.”
The soldiers – a noncommissioned officer and a female conscript soldier under his command – were driving a military vehicle from the settlement of Shavei Shomron to Afula when they mistakenly drove into the West Bank city of Jenin.
Videos of the incident shared on social media showed dozens of Palestinians encircling the vehicle and pelting it with rocks and chairs. Pictures showed the female soldier’s face covered in blood and the vehicle’s windshield shattered. The soldiers can be heard in the videos screaming as the Palestinians assailed them, pulling the hair of the female soldier and grabbing her weapon.
More than 100 members of the PA security forces in civilian and official attire worked together to bring the soldiers to safety, a Palestinian security official told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
“Our forces pushed the boys on the street away from the soldiers. We then put the soldiers in one of our police cars and brought them to the Israeli authorities in the Civil Administration,” he said. “We also returned the military vehicle to the Israelis.”
The female soldier was evacuated to Emek Medical Center in Afula with light to moderate wounds on her face and legs from the windshield glass.
The NCO was evaluated before being discharged from the hospital.
The female soldier’s weapon, which was taken during the incident, was returned to Israel by Palestinian security officials on Tuesday morning.
“The fact that the weapon was returned this morning means there is deep security coordination on the ground, and I hope it will be preserved,” Liberman said.