Two IDF soldiers posing as Arabs for an undercover mission were stopped by Palestinian security in Nablus (Shechem) on Saturday, but returned to Israel unharmed.
The two soldier were working undercover and on their way to make an arrest in the city, which is Area A and under control of the Palestinian Authority. They were reported to be from the Duvdevan (cherry) unit which is an elite special operations unit trained for undercover work and intelligence gathering.
The IDF reported that the two arrived at the Refida section of Nablus , but were prevented from entering by Palestinian security forces. After a brief scuffle, the Israeli soldiers identified themselves and were detained. Palestinian police closed off the area where the two were detained as a precaution against rioting.
They were then returned to the Israeli army with the efforts of civil administration.
Israeli civilians occasionally enter Palestinian controlled Area A inadvertently, which sometimes leads to them being attacked by residents and/or PA security. It is, nonetheless, rare for IDF undercover troops to be discovered while on a mission.
A senior IDF officer spoke to News 0404, a Hebrew language news site, reacting strongly to the incident. “Uncovering Duvdevan soldiers in Nablus is a dangerous incident, and a big failure,” the unnamed officer said. “This type of incident can result in captured soldiers and we should not come to this. This needs to be investigated. It should be remembered that the Duvdevan unit is exceptional with excellent fighters.”