Policeman killed by terrorists outside Jerusalem

Female officer wounded in attack near Shuafat; two terrorists killed after infiltrating West Bank yeshiva.

mekor chaim attack 224 (photo credit: Channel 2)
mekor chaim attack 224
(photo credit: Channel 2)
A border police officer was killed and another female officer was seriously wounded Thursday night in a shooting attack near the entrance to the Shuafat refugee camp in northern Jerusalem. Both were wounded in the shooting but Rami Zoari, 20 from Beersheba, died after resuscitation attempts failed. IDF sources said the terrorists approached the entrance to Shuafat on foot, opened fire at a group of Israelis nearby and fled the scene. Military forces and border policemen, assisted by a helicopter, immediately dispatched search parties to apprehend the gunmen. The Battalions of Struggle and Return, a previously anonymous offshoot of Fatah's Aksa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack, Israel Radio reported. The group added that the attackers managed to flee the scene. Police Chief Insp.-Gen. David Cohen and Jerusalem District Head Ilan Franco arrived at the scene. Roadblocks all around Jerusalem separating camps like Shuafat from the central part of the capital were opened following a ruling by the High Court of Justice. Citing this fact, Franco said that "if it were up to me, the roadblocks would stay closed." Franco said that roadblock such as the one near Shuafat were "weak points" around the city. Cohen said that his forces would not rest until they caught the perpetrators of the attack. "We will do everything in order to apprehend the murderers," the police chief said. "To the best of my understanding, the officers acted according to the current protocol. I would like to point out that the policemen work here year round, performing high-level operational work, and they deserve the highest superlatives for preventing previous terror attacks." ZAKA paramedic Yisrael Wertheimer, who was first on the scene, was forced to attend to the wounded female officer under fire. "I had to operate under fire. There was still shooting in the background. We worked on the ground, very close to her, to avoid being hit by crossfire," he told Army Radio. In every attack in the West Bank in recent months, a previously unknown Fatah offshoot claimed responsibility. Police said many attacks had been averted by security forces' work inside Palestinian towns. Meanwhile, in another incident that occurred at about the same time, two terrorists were killed after infiltrating the Mekor Hayim High School Yeshiva in Kfar Etzion, south of Jerusalem. The terrorists, armed with knives and a pistol, infiltrated the kibbutz - in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc - and sneaked into a building used by the high school, run by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. The kibbutz is surrounded by a fence which contains an alert system when a part of it had been breached, enabling the terrorists to disable the alert and cut a hole through the fence undetected, a paramedic in Hatzallah Judea and Samaria told The Jerusalem Post. They entered a classroom where counselors were holding a meeting, and stabbed two of them. Two of the counselors were armed and managed to overpower and kill the terrorists, without giving them a chance to fire their pistol, a Hatzallah spokesman said. The wounded suffered non-life-threatening injuries, one to the head and the other to the shoulder, and were evacuated to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which was carried out by two youths, around 17 years old. They were wearing green outfits, apparently in an attempt to masquerade as IDF soldiers. However, they were not in military uniform, the Hatzallah's spokesman told the Post. IDF sources hailed the counselors' quick response. "This could have ended much worse," a source in the Central Command said. Kadima MK Ze'ev Elkin called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to postpone his meeting, scheduled for Sunday, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas following the attack, Israel Radio reported. Jpost.com staff contributed to this report