Staff Sergeant Ido Baruch succumbed to injuries sustained in a roadside ambush in the West Bank yesterday.
By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner
Palestinian gunmen killed Sgt. Baruch in a drive-by shooting with a semi-automatic weapon at a military post where he was stationed near the Jewish community of Shavei Shomron, located between Nablus and Jenin.
“Two assailants arrived in a vehicle adjacent to the community of Shavei Shomron and shot live fire at IDF soldiers who were conducting operational security activity in the area,” said an Israeli military statement.
According to initial investigation, the soldier and his comrades were securing a festive rally attended by thousands of people in celebration of the Sukkot festival.
After being treated by medics who rushed to the scene, Sgt. Baruch, 21, was transferred to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba for treatment for gunshot wound to the shoulder. Resuscitation attempts failed to stem excessive bleeding after the deadly bullet migrated into his chest cavity.
The IDF launched a manhunt, in cooperation with the Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet) for the gunmen who had fled the scene. The newly-formed “Lions Den” terrorist faction from Nablus has claimed responsibility for the murder.
“Today, a holiday turned into a day of sadness and pain. It was with great sorrow and pain that I received the news of the death of an IDF soldier from the Givati Brigade Reconnaissance Unit, Staff Sergeant Ido Baruch, who fell in the line of duty in a shooting attack by a despicable terrorist,” said Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid. “On behalf of myself and the Government of Israel, I send condolences to his family and fellow soldiers in the brigade. There are no words to express the great pain and sorrow. We will not stop until these murderers are caught. May his memory be a blessing,” added the Israeli leader.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz vowed to capture the attacker and their accomplices.
“I would like to send my condolences to the family of the IDF soldier who was killed today in an attack in Samaria. The manhunt continues,” Gantz said, underscoring, that, “We will put our hands on the terrorist and those who assisted him. Counterterrorism operations will continue and intensify in order to give security to the citizens of Israel.”
Sgt. Baruch died just three days after another Israeli soldier was killed in Jerusalem. Female Sgt. Noa Lazar, 18, was killed in a shooting attack at a security crossing between the northern Shuafat neighborhood of Jerusalem and the West Bank on Saturday, by an armed Palestinian terrorist who opened fire after exiting a white Toyota. Another Israeli security guard, 30, severely wounded in the act.
“Our hand is long, and it will reach every terrorist wherever he is, and we will continue to do everything necessary to protect the citizens of Israel during the Feast (Tabernacles) and in general,” vowed Israel Police Jerusalem Precinct Staff Commander Erez Tavor.