Slain soldier named as Sgt. First Class Ilay David Garfinkel

IDF names soldier killed in West Bank sniper attack; battalion chief seriously hurt

Palestinian terrorist opened fire at minibus, ambulance, and troops searching for him near Dolev on Friday; military maps his home for demolition

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Sgt. First Class Ilay David Garfinkel, killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank on March 22, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
Sgt. First Class Ilay David Garfinkel, killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank on March 22, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces on Saturday evening announced the death of a soldier killed in a terror shooting attack carried out by a Palestinian sniper in the West Bank a day earlier.

He was named by the IDF as Sgt. First Class Ilay David Garfinkel, 21, of the Commando Brigade’s Duvdevan unit, from the central community of Sitria.

In the sniper attack near the settlement of Dolev on Friday morning, the commander of the 668th “Ram” Search and Rescue Battalion and another soldier were also seriously wounded. Five other troops were lightly and moderately hurt, the IDF said.

Mujahid Barakat Mansour attacked early Friday morning, shooting at an Israeli minibus, which lead to an hours-long exchange of fire and resulted in him being killed in a helicopter strike. Troops began a pursuit after the gunman following the initial attack, during which they came under fire several times throughout the morning.

A Magen David Adom ambulance was also targeted during the attack, with no injuries caused to the service’s medics.

A MDA ambulance targeted in a shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Dolev, March 22, 2024. (Magen David Adom)

According to the IDF’s initial probe of the attack, Mansour was using a sniper rifle and had opened fire from behind a makeshift cover in a forested area near Dolev. The gunman moved between several positions that he had set up in the area, which he had reached overnight, the probe found.

The IDF said it scrambled an attack helicopter and drones in its search for the terrorist.

The Israeli Air Force helicopter carried out gunfire in the area where the terrorist was believed to be, in an attempt to flush him out. Meanwhile, the gunman fired several more shots toward Israeli forces, causing casualties, according to the probe.

The IDF’s elite Duvdevan unit was then dispatched to the scene to locate the terrorist, during which the commandos also engaged in a gun battle with him. Garfinkel was killed in that clash.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. at the scene of a shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Dolev, March 22, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

Around five hours after the initial attack, with Mansour being finally located, the IAF helicopter carried out a strike against him, the IDF said. The terrorist was killed in the strike.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi toured the attack scene on Friday evening, the military said. Overnight, the IDF said it operated in the West Bank town of Dayr Ibzi’ to measure the home of Mansour ahead of its potential demolition.

Israel regularly destroys the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly attacks.

IDF troops take measurements at the home of Mujahid Barakat Mansour in the West Bank town of Dayr Ibzi’, early March 23, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

Security forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank have been on high alert since the start of Ramadan last week. Tensions were already high between Israelis and Palestinians due to the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, triggered by the October 7 massacre, which saw Hamas terrorists murder about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnap 253.

Since October 7, the IDF has said troops have arrested some 3,500 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including more than 1,500 affiliated with Hamas.

Palestinians say over 400 people have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank since hostilities broke out, most while carrying out attacks or during clashes with IDF troops during nightly raids that have largely concentrated on a handful of areas in the northern West Bank. However, killings of innocent bystanders have also been alleged.

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