An Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian gunman near the West Bank settlement of Kedumim on Thursday afternoon, the military and medics said.
The IDF later named the fatality as Staff Sgt. Shilo Yosef Amir, 22, of the Givati infantry brigade’s reconnaissance unit, from the northern town of Meirav.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service said he was declared dead at the scene following resuscitation efforts.
According to the Israel Defense Forces’ initial probe of the attack, security forces were alerted of the presence of a suspicious car driving around the settlement. When a civilian security officer and IDF troops arrived at the scene and stopped a car for inspection, its occupant fired at them with a handgun and fled. The forces then chased the assailant and killed him.
The military had barred publication that a soldier was killed in the attack until his family was notified.
Amid the shooting, a suspected infiltration siren sounded in the community, west of Nablus. The IDF’s Home Front Command briefly ordered residents of Kedumim to remain in their homes and lock their doors and windows.
The deadly attack was later claimed by the military wing of the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, which identified the assailant as Ahmed Yassin Ghaidan of Qibya.
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades said the shooting was as a response to the Israeli operation in Jenin earlier this week, during which at least 12 Palestinian gunmen were killed, and over recent settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.
Footage purportedly from the scene shows Israeli security forces opening fire pic.twitter.com/ixTaoPIF56
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The terror group also warned Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who lives in Kedumim, that “the al-Qassam Brigades almost knocked on your door.”
The Shin Bet said Ghaidan had no known prior security offenses.
During the past year, Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.
On Wednesday, Palestinian gunmen opened fire from a passing vehicle at a police cruiser and a nearby store in a tiny Samaritan community close to Nablus, causing no injuries.
That attack came hours after the IDF pulled back from Jenin following a two-day incursion targeting terror groups in the Palestinian refugee camp adjacent to the West Bank city.
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have been high across the West Bank for the past year and a half, with the military carrying out near-nightly raids, amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.
Since the beginning of this year, Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have killed 25 people, including Thursday’s shooting.
According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 148 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during that time — most of them during clashes with security forces or while carrying out attacks, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances.