An IDF soldier was murdered in a Palestinian shooting attack near Kedumim in the northern West Bank on Thursday, with the terrorist also later killed.
The soldier was identified as IDF Staff-Sergeant Shilo Yosef Amir, a 22 year old from Meirav in northern Israel and a soldier in Sayeret Givati.
Hamas's al-Qassam Brigades declared responsibility for the attack, saying that it was conducted as a response to the recent Israeli operation in Jenin and the tearing up of the Quran in Urif.
The al-Qassam Brigades added that the attack aimed "to tell the criminal Zionist Minister [Finance Minister Betzalel] Smotrich that al-Qassam almost knocked on your door." Smotrich lives in Kdumim.
Around 3:45 p.m., security forces connected to Kedumim identified a suspicious white van that was driving in circles around the outskirts of the yishuv.
The suspicious movements of the vehicle led those security forces to send out a mix of a civilian security official and a group of four IDF soldiers to converge on and approach the van.
IDF Brig. Gen. Avi Blut said that the heightened awareness of the Yishuv's security complement both in detecting the van and in keeping all of the gates to the Yishuv closed, may have saved significant civilian lives since it meant the terrorist could not penetrate the Yishuv or achieve any surprise.
The civilian security official arrived at the vehicle first and initiated a request for the driver to produce identification.
The driver continued to act suspiciously but did not yet open fire.
How the attack unfolded
Very shortly after, the four IDF soldiers arrived and started to approach the terrorist.
At a certain point during their approach, the terrorist opened fire, mortally wounding the commander of the four IDF soldiers, who was hit with one deadly bullet.
Magen David Adom initially indicated that the soldier was severely wounded after the IDF confirmed reports of the attack, but later confirmed his death.
Though the terrorist also fired in the direction of the civilian security official, he was not injured.
There were conflicting reports about potential other incidents in the area as the terrorist attacker initially escaped on foot, fleeing toward the Jiat junction.
The remaining three IDF soldiers pursued him and managed to bring him down with gunfire.
Additional soldiers arrived on the scene shortly after and ensured that he was neutralized.
Blut said that the IDF has identified the terrorist, but will only release his identity later, after determining whether he was a lone wolf attacker or whether he was directed to carry out the attack by a terror group.
The IDF has already determined that no other attacker was involved in the incident and that the terrorist did not come from Jenin.
Blut said that once the terrorist's identity is publicized, the IDF will also initiate processes related to his family and potentially demolish his house.
This is a developing story.