Palestinian gunman kills Israeli soldier outside of Kedumim, Bezalel Smotrich’s home settlement


((JEWISH REVIEW)) — A Palestinian gunman killed an Israeli soldier when security forces stopped the gunman while he was driving near the Kedumim settlement in the northern West Bank. The gunman was killed after the attack.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday, noting that Kedumim is where Bezalel Smotrich, the minister responsible for the West Bank, lives.

“Tell the criminal Zionist Minister Smotrich that al-Qassam almost knocked on your door,” the Jerusalem Post quoted Qassam Brigades, a militia affiliated with Hamas, as saying.

Hamas said the attack was retaliation for a massive Israeli raid this week in Jenin, where 12 Palestinians whom Israel says were armed militants were killed. An Israeli soldier was also killed in that raid.

On Tuesday, at least seven people were wounded in Tel Aviv as a Palestinian attacker rammed his car into people waiting at a bus stop.

The Israel Defense Forces said the gunman near Kedumim was killed after being scrutinized. “Security forces identified and stopped a suspicious vehicle for inspection,” the IDF spokesman said in a statement. “During the inspection, an assailant inside the vehicle opened fire toward them. The forces responded with live fire and the assailant fled. IDF soldiers and civilian security personnel pursued the assailant, and engaged and neutralized him.”

Reports said that the settlements civilian security team alerted the army after spotting a suspicious white van circling the settlement around 4 p.m. A joint army and civilian security team stopped the van and the gunman shot and killed one member of the team. Later Thursday, the IDF identified the slain soldier as Shilo Yosef Amir, 22.

Palestinian media identified the gunman as a 19-year-old from Qibya, a village near Ramallah.

“The enemy will know that its massacre in Jenin only increased our people’s insistence on resistance and adherence to its approach until liberation,” Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based news service, quoted Hamas as saying.

Palestinian-Israeli tensions have been mounting ting for over a year and intensified after the election last November of the most-right wing government in Israeli history. Smotrich, who is also the finance minister, is one of its most extremist members and has said he will use his powers as the minister running the West Bank to limit Palestinian growth and expand Israeli settlements.

Israeli authorities say most of the terrorist attacks on Israelis originate in Jenin. They say the raid this week, the biggest in years, was necessary because the Palestinian Authority is virtually powerless in the city, which is controlled by militias.