Photo Credit: Wikimedia / r Aleksasfi
Shiraz International Airport on October 26, 2015

An IDF soldier who was on a flight from Uzbekistan to the United Arab Emirates last week ended up spending nine hours at an Iranian airport.


The 19-year-old soldier, who speaks Russian, was visiting her family in Uzbekistan, and boarded a civilian flight from Tashkent to Dubai.

But the flight was suddenly diverted when a patient had a medical emergency, and instead landed at Shiraz International Airport.

Passengers were told to disembark and wait in the terminal. The soldier, who serves in the IDF Northern Command in a non-sensitive position, used her foreign passport while in the Islamic Republic.

Once on the ground, called her parents – who then informed her commanders.

Senior defense officials who were notified about the situation contacted caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid as he was meeting with the cabinet about Israel’s impending maritime border agreement with Lebanon.

Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency reached out and contacted the soldier, warning her to hide her Israeli identity and avoid speaking Hebrew, according to Hebrew-language reports.

She and the other passengers spent nine hours in Iran waiting to return to the plane, which eventually departed without incident. After arriving in Dubai, the soldier caught a flight to Israel.

Iran is believed to have been unaware that an Israeli soldier was in Shiraz.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.