Soldier killed in East Jerusalem shooting identified as 18-year-old Noa Lazar
Resident of northern community of Bat Hefer was hit when Palestinian gunman opened fire on checkpoint; guard wounded in attack in serious condition after undergoing brain surgery
The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday identified the soldier killed in the deadly East Jerusalem shooting attack as Sgt. Noa Lazar, 18.
The military said Lazar, from the community of Bat Hefer in northern Israel, was a member of the Military Police’s Erez battalion. Lazar, a corporal, was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant after her death.
Lazar and a civilian guard were hit when a gunman opened fire in a shooting attack at a checkpoint near the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem on Saturday night.
The two were rushed to a hospital in Jerusalem for medical treatment after the attack, according to police and medics.
Lazar was declared dead at the hospital, the IDF announced after her family had been notified.
Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem said Sunday morning that the guard had been operated on overnight by neurosurgeons and remained on a ventilator, in serious condition.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid and President Isaac Herzog issued statements mourning Lazar’s death and vowing to apprehend the attacker.
“With a broken heart, I received the news of (her) death,” said Lapid. “On behalf of myself and the government of Israel, I send condolences to her family and friends. There are no words to ease their great loss.”
“We will not be quiet and know no rest until we bring justice to the depraved terrorist,” he said.
“Sending condolences to the grieving family of the IDF soldier, Sgt. Noa Lazar, for whom the joy of the holiday turned into terrible grief, and praying for the recovery of the injured from the shooting attack in Jerusalem,” said Herzog.
“No despicable terrorist will break our spirit. We will fight terrorism and continue to build our lives and celebrate our holidays. We trust the IDF and the security forces,” he said.
The Palestinian gunman apparently arrived on foot and fired at security forces at the checkpoint around 9 p.m. before fleeing into the nearby refugee camp.
Two Border Police officers were lightly injured by shrapnel in the shooting.
Video released Sunday appeared to show the man casually getting out of a white vehicle at the checkpoint and walking over to a group of soldiers and guards. He opens fire from point-blank range with a handgun, hitting two of them as the others dive for cover
He carries on firing at one person on the ground and then turns and runs away before any of the other soldiers at the checkpoint can react.
Security forces raided the Shuafat refugee camp after the attack in search for the shooter and two other suspects. Special forces units and a helicopter took part in the manhunt. Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman said the identity of three suspects was known to police.
Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, who arrived on the scene alongside top police officials, said security forces “will lay their hands on the attacker, alive or dead.” Barlev said the shooter was a 22-year-old resident of Shuafat.
Police said three other suspected accomplices had been arrested. The suspects were in their 20s and from Shuafat and Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem and Anata in the West Bank.
Three members of the suspected shooter’s family were also detained in Shuafat, Army Radio reported
A man suspected of driving the gunman turned himself in to police and is not believed to have been an accomplice.
The driver claimed he was giving the shooter a ride to Modi’in when the attacker got out of the vehicle at the checkpoint and fired at least seven rounds, before his weapon jammed.
The Gaza-based Hamas terror group said it “blessed the heroic operation,” calling the shooting “a reaction to the incursions into al-Aqsa and the aggression by the occupation today against Jenin.” Earlier Saturday, two Palestinians were killed during an arrest operation by the IDF in Jenin, a city in the West Bank.
“These operations carry a message that the revolt of our people is in progress and will not subside and that the operations, shootings, and gunfire of our youth in revolt will haunt the occupiers and herds of settlers everywhere in response to their crimes and their incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Hamas said but did not explicitly claim responsibility for the attack.
Photos from the scene of the shooting showed blood smeared across a section of paving stones and pavement next to a guard booth, as police closed off the area with red tape and collected evidence.
Celebratory fireworks were reported in Shuafat after the shooting.
The incident comes as military and police are on heightened alert in Jerusalem and the West Bank over the Jewish holiday season. The Prime Minister’s Office said that over Shabbat, Lapid held a security assessment ahead of the start of the Sukkot festival Sunday evening “with an emphasis on the deployment of forces in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, as well as elsewhere across the country.”
Tensions were already high due to an ongoing anti-terror campaign in the West Bank that has seen over 100 Palestinians killed and more than 2,000 arrested in nightly raids, during which Israeli troops have regularly been targeted by gunfire. Most of those killed were gunmen or participants in violent clashes, but some were unarmed civilians.
The operation was launched after a series of attacks that killed 19 people between mid-March and the beginning of May.