Israeli soldier killed in Hebron shooting: Army

Israeli soldier killed in Hebron shooting: Army

JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
An Israeli soldier died on Sept. 22 after being shot by a suspected Palestinian gunman in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, officials said. "An IDF [Israel Defence Forces] soldier was killed by gunfire fired this evening at an army force in Hebron," a statement from the Israeli military said. "The soldier was taken to a hospital in an intensive care unit where he died of his wounds," it said, identifying him as 20-year-old Sergeant Gabriel Koby from Tirat Hacarmel in northern Israel.

Israel police had earlier said the soldier had been shot, "probably by terrorists," although the shooter had fled the scene, sparking a massive manhunt.

The army said the soldier was involved in "defending the Jewish neighbourhood of Hebron," where around 11,000 Israelis were expected to visit over the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, which began on Sept. 20.

The shooting took place close to the volatile Cave of the Patriarchs, which is considered holy to both Jews and Muslims.

The army locked down the city with roadblocks "in order to prevent the perpetrators from fleeing the city," the statement said. Shortly before the incident, witnesses said there were clashes in the city centre between stone-throwers and Israeli forces, with one Palestinian wounded by rubber bullets.

Army Spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said the IDF would "employ the necessary means, operational and intelligence, to apprehend those responsible for this deadly attack." The fatal shooting took place a day after Israeli troops found the body of another soldier who had been lured to the northern West Bank and killed by a Palestinian.

Senior Cabinet Minister Naftali Bennett said the two attacks should push Israel to reconsider its involvement in peace talks with the Palestinians, which were relaunched last month after a three-year hiatus.

"Under the auspices of negotiation celebrations, Sukkot has turned into a festival of bloodshed and harm to Israeli soldiers," he said in a letter sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "There is no doubt that there have been unfortunate developments since the start of the negotiations which require the government to reconsider its path," he wrote.

On Sept. 21, Israel discovered the body of Tomer Hazan, another 20-year-old soldier who had been lured to a village in the northern West Bank on Sept. 20 and killed by a Palestinian man with whom he had worked in a seaside town near Tel Aviv.

He was buried on Sept. 22 in a military cemetery in the town of Holon.