A heavy manhunt is underway for the assailants who murdered female Israeli sergeant Noa Lazar in a shooting attack at point blank range, that also left an Israeli security guard, 30, severely wounded.
By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner
Sgt. Lazar was a member of the IDF Military Police Erez Brigade, and was 18 years-old at the time of her death.
The fallen soldier was killed 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. He and other suspects then fled the scene.
“Terror will not defeat us, we are strong even on this difficult evening,” vowed Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid following the attack. He stressed, “This holiday season, significant forces are out, working day and night to defend the citizens of Israel. My heart is with the wounded and their families this evening.”
Just prior to the onset of the Sabbat on Friday, Prime Minister Lapid held a security assessment ahead of the Sukkot holiday focused on the readiness of the security forces in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and throughout the country.
“It was with a broken heart that I received the news of the death of IDF combat soldier Sergeant Noa Lazar who was murdered in a shooting attack by a vile terrorist,” said the Israeli leader on Twitter, adding, “On my behalf and on behalf of the Government of Israel, I send condolences to her family and friends: there are no words that can ease this terrible loss. We will not rest until we bring these heinous murderers to justice. May her memory be for a blessing.”
Israeli President Isaac Herzog also expressed his condolences to Lazar’s family, while emphasizing that “no heinous terrorist will break our spirit. We will fight terror and maintain our daily routine during the Jewish High Holy Days.”
After expressing sorrow to the bereaved Lazar family, Defense Minister Benny Gantz vowed that, “the fight with terror will continue in all sectors and with whatever strength necessary. We’ll capture this terrorist and whoever assisted him.”
The security guard remains in serious condition and under sedation at the Intensive Care Unit of the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, after undergoing surgery by a neurosurgical team.
Immediately following the attack, Israeli security forces raided Shuafat, where residents rioted and shot fireworks in celebration of the killing. Other celebrations were held in Jenin and additional parts of the Palestinian territories in the West Bank.
Three Palestinians suspected of involvement in the attack whose identities were known to the police have been apprehended.
“This is a serious attack and we will not rest until all those involved are captured,” Israeli Police Commissioner Yaakov “Kobi” Shabtai said in a statement.
Israeli Police believe the Palestinian gunman was 22-year-old Uday Tamimi of Jerusalem, who fired seven bullets before his gun jammed. Tamimi’s brother Kasem surrendered to the authorities, as has another one of the suspects, Salem Arab, who is believed to have driven the vehicle.
While no Palestinian terror groups have claimed responsibility for the deadly shooting, senior officials of the Islamist terror groups have lauded the deadly attack.
“The brave Shuafat operation proves the armed resistance in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem continues, no matter how repressive the steps taken by the enemy are,” said Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum of the Hamas rulers of Gaza.
In related developments, several Palestinian suspects opened fire from a moving vehicle at IDF troops during counterterrorism activity overnight and today as part of Operation Waves Breaker, launched in response to the wake of a deadly surge of attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people between March and May 2022.. The Israeli force immediately returned fire and registered several hits.
IDF,Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet) and Border Police Special Operations Forces also engaged in deadly clashes at a number of locations including the northern Samaria region over the weekend.
Seven terror suspects were apprehended over the weekend as tensions continue to run high throughout the West Bank territories.
A joint IDF and ISA operation captured a relatively senior field operative of the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) proxy on terror-related charges, including the planning and execution of shooting attacks on Israeli troops near the hotbed city of Jenin. Dozens of Palestinians hurled improvised explosive devices and firebombs at the Israeli forces during the mission, resulting in the reported deaths of three armed assailants in an exchange of gunfire.
There were no reported among the IDF troops during any of the West Bank incidents.
The United States has issued a call on all sides to avoid measured that would further inflame the current tensions.
“We believe it’s critical for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to refrain from unilateral steps that exasperate tensions and undercut efforts that would advance a negotiated Two-State Solution; and so, that continues to be our belief,” remarked US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel.