IDF probe points to ‘several errors’ in October shooting death of soldier

Military says troops weren’t positioned correctly while securing settler march in northern West Bank, during which Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch was killed by Lion’s Den gunmen

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

Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch, 21, killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank on October 11, 2022, in an undated photo released by the military. (Israel Defense Forces)
Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch, 21, killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank on October 11, 2022, in an undated photo released by the military. (Israel Defense Forces)

A military investigation into the death of a soldier in October during a shooting attack in the northern West Bank pointed to “several errors” made by troops, the Israel Defense Forces said Sunday.

The soldier, Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch of the Givati infantry brigade’s reconnaissance unit, was killed on October 11 while securing a march held by settlers near the Palestinian town of Sebastia. He was stationed near an interchange close to the nearby settlement of Shavei Shomron.

The gunmen, members of the Lion’s Den terror group, opened fire at Baruch from a passing vehicle and fled the scene at a high speed, according to the IDF’s probe of the shooting. He was taken in critical condition to a hospital, where he later died.

The IDF said the investigation found that the Samaria Regional Brigade and Givati Reconnaissance Unit “successfully completed their defensive mission, but did so at the heavy price of the death of Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch.”

But the probe also uncovered “several errors,” the IDF said.

“The soldiers were not positioned behind protection posts in the area of the interchange, and the manner in which they were positioned at the post where the incident occurred was inadequate.” the IDF said.

Israeli soldiers are seen at the scene of a shooting near the West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron, on October 11, 2022. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Outgoing IDF chief Aviv Kohavi ordered that lessons learned from the investigation be implemented in all units across the West Bank.

Baruch’s family was updated on the findings of the probe, the IDF said. The gunmen behind the attack are still at large.

In recent months, Palestinian gunmen, mostly members of the Nablus-based Lion’s Den, have repeatedly targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.

Tensions have been high in the West Bank over the past year amid an Israeli anti-terror offensive to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that killed 31 people in 2022.

The IDF’s operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. It also left 171 Palestinians dead in 2022, and another 13 since the beginning of the year, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.

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