IDF soldier stuck in Iran for 9 hours, unnoticed by Iranian officials

Soldier who was reportedly traveling on a Russian passport is back in Israel.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

An Israeli soldier spent nine hours in an Iranian airport last week when her flight was diverted to Shiraz, the IDF disclosed on Wednesday.

According to the IDF, the 19-year-old soldier was traveling alone on a flying from Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

However, a passenger on board had a medical emergency requiring the flight to divert to Shiraz in south-central Iran.

At the time of the medical emergency, the plane was flying over Kerman, in central Iran. According to Hebrew media reports, Israeli nationals are allowed to be on flights crossing Iranian airspace, but soldiers are specifically prohibited from doing likewise.

The 19-year-old soldier was returning to Israel after visiting family in Uzbekistan.

The military disclosed that she serves in a non-sensitive position in the Northern Command and does not have any security clearances.

Passengers, including the soldier, disembarked at Shiraz International Airport and spent nine hours waiting in a terminal.

According to Hebrew reports, while waiting, the soldier called her parents, who in turn notified her commanders. Senior defense officials briefed Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

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Reports said the Mossad then contacted the soldier who instructed her to conceal her Israeli identity and not to speak Hebrew.

The soldier was said to be traveling on a Russian passport. Some reports said the passport was issued in Israel but this was not noticed by Iranian authorities.

Eventually, the passengers were able to continue to Dubai without incident and the soldier has since returned to Israel.