Masked Palestinian shot dead after aiming fake gun at police in East Jerusalem

Officers clash with Palestinians in Shuafat refugee camp as they demolish home of gunman who killed soldier last year

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

: A suspect is seen carrying what appears to be a gun, during a police operation in the Shuafat refugee camp, January 25, 2023. (Israel Police)
: A suspect is seen carrying what appears to be a gun, during a police operation in the Shuafat refugee camp, January 25, 2023. (Israel Police)

A masked Palestinian teenager carrying a fake gun was shot and killed by police officers in the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem on Wednesday as they worked to demolish the home of a Palestinian gunman who killed an Israeli soldier at a nearby checkpoint last year, law enforcement officials said.

Hundreds of police officers entered the camp on Wednesday morning to demolish Udai Tamimi’s home. Tamimi is accused of killing Sgt. Noa Lazar, 18, and seriously wounding a civilian guard on October 8, 2022, at a checkpoint near the camp.

Tamimi fled the scene and was killed while attempting to commit another attack at a checkpoint near the entrance of the West Bank settlement city of Ma’aleh Adumim on October 19. One security guard was lightly hurt in the incident.

Police said one officer was lightly hurt Wednesday when Palestinians hurled pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails during the demolition of a Tamimi’s home in the camp.

During the clashes, officers opened fire at a suspect who appeared to have been armed with a gun and was aiming it at the forces, but later the item was found to be a “dummy weapon.”

Police published footage of the Palestinian thought to have been armed. The video showed the suspect pointing what appears to be a gun at the forces, then running away as officers opened fire.

At one point he threw the item away, before collapsing. The gun later turned out to be fake and not a real firearm, a police spokesperson said.

Warning: graphic footage

The suspect, named as Salah Muhammad Ali, 17, was listed in critical condition and was taken for further medical treatment. Palestinian media later said he had died of his wounds.

The wounded officer was also taken to a hospital for further medical treatment.

One man was also taken for questioning at the scene, police added.

Police demolish the home of a Palestinian gunman in the Shuafat refugee camp, January 25, 2023. (Israel Police)

Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as a matter of policy. The efficacy of the policy has been hotly debated even within the Israeli security establishment, while human rights activists denounce the practice as unjust collective punishment.

A joint police and IDF investigation into the attack pointed to a series of failures and shortcomings that led to Lazar’s death. Following the investigation, soldiers are now no longer stationed at the crossing and several police officers were fired, while others were censured.

Sgt Noa Lazar, 18, who was killed in a shooting attack in East Jerusalem on October 8, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

The demolition was carried out after appeals submitted on behalf of Tamimi were rejected.

The seizure and demolition order for Tamimi’s home was signed in December by the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Rafi Milo, as he is the relevant officer within Israeli territory, including East Jerusalem.

The condition of the seriously wounded guard in the attack, 30-year-old David Morel, has since improved and he was transferred to a rehabilitation center in November.

Udai Tamimi is seen opening fire at a checkpoint near the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim on October 19, 2022. (Video screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Tensions have soared in the West Bank as the IDF has pressed on with an anti-terror offensive mostly focused on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of attacks that have left 31 people in Israel dead 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 20 since the beginning of the year, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.

In arrest raids across the West Bank early Wednesday, the IDF said troops arrested 11 wanted Palestinians.

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