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Palestinian Killed When Israeli Soldiers Enter Refugee Camp

  • VOA News

Palestinians inspect abandoned parts with the registration plate of an Israeli army vehicle that was burned during an Israeli army raid in the West Bank refugee camp of Qalandia, at the outskirts of Ramallah, March 1, 2016.

A Palestinian was shot dead Monday night in a riot after two Israeli soldiers accidentally entered a West Bank refugee camp, officials said.

Violence erupted when the soldiers, using the cellphone navigation app Waze, strayed into the Qalandia refugee camp north of Jerusalem. The two Israelis had been traveling from Jerusalem approximately 10 miles north into the West Bank city of Ramallah.

According to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the soldiers met with a crowd that directed gunfire, Molotov cocktails, and rocks at their military vehicle. Israeli military forces were sent to retrieve the pair, who were found later after having escaped on foot.

The crowd reportedly set fire to the vehicle, and five Israeli border policemen were injured. In response, security forces "fired toward the direction" of oncoming gunfire, said the IDF.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that a 22-year-old Palestinian man was killed in the exchange of gunfire and that four others were injured. An additional 12 people were wounded by rubber bullets.

The Palestinian Red Crescent identified the killed Palestinian man as university student Eyad Sajadiyeh, saying he was shot in the head during the fighting.

The IDF said it was aware that one person had reportedly been killed, but offered no further comment.

App issues

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said in a speech near Tel Aviv that the two soldiers were not familiar with the area and that the app had been taking them the shortest possible route, which ran directly through the refugee camp, north to Ramallah.

The Waze company said the soldiers were at fault, having turned off a setting which leads the app to avoid "dangerous areas."

The company has encountered obstacles with government officials and angry users in the past.

"I have always said that even if you use a navigation program, you still need to know how to navigate with a map," Yaalon said.

Months-long violence

Monday's violence was the latest in over five months of near-daily Palestinian attacks on civilians and security forces that have killed 28 Israelis, mostly in stabbings, shootings and attacks where Palestinians used vehicles as weapons to ram into Israeli soldiers or civilians.

During the same time — since mid-September — at least 168 Palestinians have also been killed. Israel says most of deceased have been attackers. The rest died in clashes with troops.

Israel says the violence is fueled by a Palestinian campaign of lies and incitement, compounded on social media sites that glorify and encourage attacks. Palestinians say it stems from frustration at nearly five decades of Israeli rule and dwindling hopes for gaining independence.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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