Security forces continued the manhunt for an east Jerusalem resident who shot and killed a Border Police officer at the Shuafat checkpoint Saturday.
Eighteen-year-old Sgt. Noa Lazar from Bat Hefer was killed after 22-year-old Udai Tamimi from the Shuafat refugee camp opened fire on her and a group of security guards at point-blank range after exiting a car at the crossing.
A 30-year-old security guard was in serious condition with bullet wounds to the head and underwent surgery following the attack. As of Monday evening, he remains in unstable and serious condition. He is sedated and ventilated in the neurosurgery intensive care unit at Hadassah Ein Kerem in Jerusalem.
A third soldier was lightly injured in the attack.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited the crossing on Monday along with Jerusalem District Commander Doron Turgeman and other senior officials. Gantz was presented with the main points of the investigation into the attack.He also spoke with commanders and troops in the Erez Battalion who were at the scene, as well as police officers manning the checkpoint.
Thanking the troops, he stressed the “importance of continuing the vital operational activity in the sector,” and that security forces “will soon lay hands on the terrorist and on those who assisted him,” according to a statement released by his office.
A preliminary investigation reportedly found that Tamimi shot eight bullets before his gun jammed. The shooting took place as the troops were switching shifts, the report by Ynet said.
The police said that over the Sukkot holiday, an integrated force of police, border police, Shin Bet, IDF and special forces have been working under Turgeman to find Tamimi.
“The activity was done both visibly and covert, on the ground and in the air, using a variety of units and means.”Israel Police
Clashes break out in Shuafat
Clashes broke out in Shuafat during the searches, with locals throwing stones, Molotov cocktails and firecrackers, as well as setting up roadblocks. Troops in return used riot dispersal methods to stop the riots.
One officer was lightly hurt by stones and three Palestinians suspected of taking part in the riots were arrested.Wafa Palestinian News Agency said that at least 20 people have been arrested since the attack, including the suspect’s mother and father. KAN Public Broadcaster also reported that the suspect’s brother turned himself in to Israeli security forces on Sunday morning.
The driver of the vehicle in which Tamimi arrived at the checkpoint turned himself in after the attack and was found not to have been involved. The other passengers in the car denied having any knowledge of Tamimi’s intention before he casually exited the car and fired on the troops.
The police believe that while Tamimi is in the camp, which neighbors Jerusalem, he plans to escape to the West Bank and has therefore blocked all roads leading to the camp. The Shuafat crossing, which is used by thousands of people, has also been blocked.
The nearby Palestinian town of Anata has also been blocked by troops in order to prevent Tamimi from escaping. WAFA quoted Anata Mayor Taha Rifai as saying that troops forced shops to close, and had been entering homes looking for the suspect. Stores in the town also reported a shortage in supplies after the checkpoint was shut.
On Sunday afternoon, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi visited the scene of the attack and spoke with troops at the checkpoint.
“We are meeting under painful circumstances, but this is my chance to thank you, the commanders and the soldiers, thank you for the work you do all year,” he said to Lazar’s fellow soldiers.
“At this moment, I want to send my condolences to the family. I strengthen and embrace you. You, the soldiers, are our first line of defense. Thanks to you, terrorist attacks are prevented on a daily basis. Be proud of what you do. With all the difficulty, I wish you all a happy holiday. Continue to defend and take care of the citizens of Israel through your work.”