Two Palestinians infiltrate IDF base, steal weapon

Exploiting overcast weather, Palestinians attack guarding soldier, steal rifle; IDF: We're investigating incident as terror attack.

IDF soldiers, police investigate 370 (photo credit: Courtesy B'Tselem)
IDF soldiers, police investigate 370
(photo credit: Courtesy B'Tselem)
Two Palestinians infiltrated an IDF base northeast of Ramallah overnight Thursday, attacking an IDF soldier on guard duty and stealing his weapon.
An initial investigation by the IDF revealed that the perpetrators managed to circumvent the base’s security due to the overcast weather conditions.
The attack also occurred at 2 a.m., reducing the guard’s visibility.
The IDF said the attackers used pepper spray on the soldier and threatened him with a fake rifle.
The attack came amid rising tensions in the West Bank between IDF security personnel and Palestinians.
“Although the incident has criminal characteristics, the IDF regards it as a terror attack,” an IDF spokesman said.
“The IDF will continue to fully investigate the incident.”
Following the attack, the IDF immediately initiated wide sweeps of the area, in coordination with Israel Police and other security apparatuses.
On Friday, Brig.-Gen. Haggai Mordechai, commander of the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division, arrived at the scene to resume the investigation.
An IDF source said that the soldier identified the threat rapidly, but was unable to fire his weapon because he was engaged in face-to-face combat at close range. The soldier suffered light wounds, and the source said he was treated on the scene by IDF medics.
Sources said that the Palestinians managed to pass the first barrier into the base.
Last week, an IDF border policewoman fatally shot a Palestinian teen in Hebron after he attacked guards at an outpost. Politicians have criticized the IDF for a strict terms of engagement policy they say prevents soldiers from protecting themselves.