Jerusalem, Oct 11 (EFE).- The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said that a soldier was fatally shot Tuesday by Palestinian militants near a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.
“Two assailants arrived in a vehicle adjacent to the community of Shavei Shomron and shot live fire at IDF soldiers who were conducting operational security activity in the area,” the military said.
Sgt. Ido Baruch, 21, was hit in the chest and died later at a nearby hospital, the IDF said, adding that security forces were searching for the attackers.
Shavei Shomron is located between the cities of Nablus and Jenin in the northern West Bank, an area that has seen numerous clashes over the last six months amid an IDF crackdown following attacks that left 19 Israelis dead.
The Den of Lions, a previously unknown militant faction based in Nablus, claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s shooting.
“A group of our heroic fighters carried out a qualitative operation,” the organization said in a statement. “We say to the settlers besieging the city of Nablus from all directions, today we will see who will besiege whom.”
Israel’s prime minister, Yair Lapid, vowed that security forces will conduct a relentless search for the gunmen, while Defense Minister Benny Gantz extended condolences to Baruch’s family and said the IDF will continue to intensify operations in the West Bank “to guarantee the security of Israeli citizens.”
An 18-year-old female IDF soldier was killed Saturday in East Jerusalem and the Shuafat refugee camp remains locked down as Israeli authorities search for the person who fired the fatal shot.
Seven Israeli soldiers and police have perished this year in confrontations with Palestinians.
The number of West Bank Palestinians killed by the Israelis in 2022 stands at 115.
Israel seized the West Bank in 1967 during the course of the Six-Day War and around 500,000 Israelis currently live in the territory, most of them in settlements that contravene international law. EFE