Israel Police arrested two suspects allegedly involved in assaulting an IDF soldier and stealing his weapon last week in the Haruvia Forest in northern Israel, according to a police spokesperson.
Following a comprehensive investigation, police said that the suspects, two residents of the Bedouin village of Ibtin in their 20s, were located in a hideout near the village of az-Zubaidat in the eastern West Bank. They were found with ammunition in their possession, which is believed to belong to the M16 rifle they stole from the IDF soldier last Thursday.
Police on Monday requested that the Nazareth District Court extend the suspects' arrest.
The following Wednesday, the Israel Police arrested three other suspects, including one IDF soldier, who allegedly assisted the two main suspects after escaping the scene.
Police found in their possession a total amount of NIS 260 thousand.The soldier left his base on Wednesday night for a navigation exercise as part of his training with the IDF's elite Egoz Unit, part of the Golani Brigade.
According to the initial investigation, the soldier noticed a suspicious car following him while he trekked near the city of Shfaram at around 3:00 a.m. on Thursday. The driver then proceeded to offer the soldier a ride, before flanking him and blocking his way. The two suspects, the car's driver and passenger, proceeded to assault the soldier and managed to steal his weapon before driving away.
During the altercation, which lasted several minutes, the soldier suffered a light injury to his face. He then reported the attack to his commanders and received medical treatment from paramedics.
While initial findings seem to indicate that the soldier followed procedures properly, an Egoz commander said on Friday that "a soldier in this unit that doesn't know how to take on two men with Krav Maga cannot be in Egoz."
However, a later statement from the IDF Spokesperson's Unit noted that "a preliminary investigation indicates that the [soldier] was attacked by suspects and fought back with all his strength. The incident is still under investigation and therefore any such comments [made by the Egoz commander] do not coincide with that which is expected of IDF commanders."