Ten days after deadly attack, security forces still looking for Shuafat terrorist

Seven people were arrested on suspicion of helping the terrorist.

 PALESTINIAN YOUTHS clash with Israeli security forces in the Shuafat refugee camp in northern Jerusalem, this week.  (photo credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)
PALESTINIAN YOUTHS clash with Israeli security forces in the Shuafat refugee camp in northern Jerusalem, this week.
(photo credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)

Ten days after Sgt. Noa Lazar was shot and killed while on duty at the Shuafat checkpoint, security forces are still looking for the east Jerusalem terrorist who carried out the attack.

Overnight, Israel Police, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Border Police officers arrested seven people suspected of helping the terrorist, 22-year-old Udai Tamimi.

The suspects, residents of the Shuafat refugee camp and the nearby West Bank town of Anata, are relatives and acquaintances of Tamimi, the police said in a statement. During searches of the suspects’ homes, security forces confiscated weapons parts, cartridges and vests.

During the operation, a riot broke out and local residents threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the forces, who responded with riot-dispersal methods.

Lazar, 18, from Bat Hefer, east of Netanya, was killed after Tamimi opened fire on her and a group of security guards at point-blank range after casually exiting a car at the crossing.

 Sgt. Noa Lazar. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON UNIT) Sgt. Noa Lazar. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON UNIT)

A 30-year-old security guard is in serious condition with bullet wounds to the head and underwent surgery following the attack. He remains sedated and ventilated in severe condition in the neurosurgery intensive-care unit at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.

A third soldier was lightly wounded.

Shuafat

Shuafat, which is within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, has about 140,000 residents, the majority of whom hold Jerusalem residency ID cards.

Following the attack, the IDF imposed a closure on the refugee camp in an attempt to prevent Tamimi from fleeing to Jenin or Nablus, West Bank cities considered safe havens for terrorists.

In support of Tamimi, numerous residents of the camp have shaved their heads in an attempt to confuse Israeli troops. Videos have been posted on social media showing young Palestinian men in the camp going to barbers to have their heads shaved, Palestinian media reported.

Riots have broken out across east Jerusalem neighborhoods and nearby West Bank villages and towns in support of Tamimi and Shuafat.

The closure has been eased since last week, but security forces are entering the refugee camp on a nightly basis, and drones and helicopters are being used to locate Tamimi. About 15 people have been arrested in connection with the attack, including family members and those suspected of assisting him, a police representative told The Jerusalem Post.

The defense establishment has vowed to bring Tamimi to justice. Defense Minister Gantz last week said security forces “will soon lay hands on the terrorist and on those who assisted him.”

An initial police investigation into the attack on October 8 found several failures in the conduct of the forces at the checkpoint, including that they first ran away instead of firing at Tamimi, Haaretz reported.

In addition to Tamimi, security forces are continuing to search for the terrorists responsible for a drive-by shooting near the settlement of Shavei Shomron that claimed the life of St.-Sgt. Ido Baruch.

The terrorists fled in the direction of Nablus. The Lions’ Den terrorist group, which is based in Nablus, claimed responsibility for the attack. Following the attack, the IDF imposed a closure on Nablus and nearby villages.

Gantz has said the group consists of 30 gunmen, but Palestinians across the West Bank have shown solidarity with them. Tuesday morning, hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets in cities and refugee camps across the West Bank, including in Jenin and Shuafat, to show their support.

On Sunday, a coalition of Palestinian militants in Jenin called the “Jenin Brigade” said in a statement that they “will not leave the Lions’ Den alone,” adding that “the occupation’s checkpoints around Jenin will not be safe” and that “we will stand with our brothers in Nablus, even if we have to send fighters to Nablus to fight beside them.”