IDF soldier shot dead by Palestinian sniper in Hebron

Givati Brigade soldier killed after being shot by gunman near Cave of the Patriarchs; security forces swept area for suspects.

By YAAKOV LAPIN,
September 22, 2013 22:08
2 minute read.
Soldiers and a security personnel open the gate of a check-point in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Soldiers in Hebron 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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A Palestinian sniper shot dead a soldier stationed the Tut Atarek Junction, across from the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron on Sunday.

The soldier was named as Gavriel Kobi, 20, from Tirat Carmel. He was promoted to St.-Sgt. Maj. upon his death.

The gunman fired at Kobi and another Givati Brigade infantryman positioned to defend the Jewish community, as part of the army’s holiday preparations. The soldiers were positioned near the pharmacy intersection and Beit Hamachpela, defending the road used by Jewish residents of the quarter in Hebron.

“From what we see, the shooting occurred over a long distance,” a senior IDF source said. “At this stage, we have no clear direction as to the identity of the shooter.”

Kobi was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where doctors tried to revive him. He was pronounced dead soon after arrival.

Many security personnel descended on the area and searched for the terrorists.

Soldiers were containing a Palestinian riot nearby at the time of the shooting, but it was too soon to link the two incidents, the IDF source said, noting that disturbances in the area “are routine.”

Soon after the attack, the army made sweeps across Hebron.

Ofer Ohana, director-general of Hazalah Yosh, was one of the first responders to the scene along with another medic.

“We found the soldier lying in the road,” Ohana said. They tried to revive him and transferred him to an ambulance, he added.

The incident took place as 10,000 visitors descended on Hebron to celebrate the Succot holiday.


Some of the violence – prior to the soldier’s death – occurred because Israelis on Sunday could access the Cave of Otniel ben Knaz, which is located in an area of the city under Palestinian control, according to Hebron’s Jewish spokesman David Wilder.

He said that Palestinians had thrown stones and Molotov cocktails at the IDF, who had responded with stun grenades and tear gas. The IDF said the violence took place near the policemen’s checkpoint.

Wilder said that he expects some 50,000 visitors to descend on Hebron on Monday.

The attack produced the second IDF fatality in the West Bank in two days.

Following the attack, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, a member of the security cabinet, wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and cabinet secretary Avihai Mandelblit that the government must reconsider its plans for releasing Palestinian terrorists.

“Under the auspices of celebrating peace talks, Succot has turned into a holiday of harming IDF soldiers,” Bennett wrote.

The Bayit Yehudi chairman pointed out that Israel’s agreement to release more Palestinian prisoners is conditional on progress in negotiations with the PLO.

“There is no doubt that there have been unfortunate developments since the talks began, which require the government to rethink its path,” he wrote.

“The answer to terror must be a war on the murderers and not dialogue with those who encourage them.”

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