Military vehicle on fire in massive Kalandiya riot.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The IDF has ejected an Oketz K-9 unit platoon commander and sentenced him to a week in military prison following the incident in which two soldiers accidentally drove into Kalandiya on Monday, sparking a rescue operation and a firefight with Palestinian gunmen.
Col. Ariel Ben-Dayan, commander of the IDF Center for Air Transport and Special Training, completed an investigation into the entry of the Oketz unit soldiers into the refugee camp, located between Jerusalem and Ramallah, and presented the findings to chief infantry and paratroopers officer, Brig.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs.
According to the findings, which Fuchs accepted, the commander of the Oketz K-9 unit will receive a written reprimand, as will the commander of the company involved in the incident.
The deputy company commander received a suspended prison sentence.
Ben-Dayan said the incident was “most severe,” but also praised the responses of the soldiers who extracted themselves from a life-threatening situation.
A separate investigation into the incident launched by Binyamin Brigade commander Col. Yisrael Shomer found Tuesday that the soldiers had forgotten to activate the option on the Waze application that prevents navigation into Area A.
“This is a human error.
Had they activated it, they would not have entered Kalandiya,” an army source said. “We do not blame Waze.” After finding themselves under life-threatening attack, the soldiers responded with the appropriate force, exiting their vehicle and opening fire, the investigation found.
“They acted correctly,” the source said. “The fact that they used force when leaving the vehicle prevented the incident from turning into a disaster.”
The rescue operation was fast and efficient, ending an 75 minutes after the soldiers had entered Kalandiya, with both soldiers out of danger.