The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday identified the soldier killed in the deadly East Jerusalem attack as Sgt. Noa Lazar, 18 years old.
The army said Lazar, from the Bat Hefer community in northern Israel, was a member of the Erez Battalion of the military police. Lazar, a corporal, was posthumously promoted to sergeant after his death.
Lazar and a civilian guard were hit when a gunman opened fire during a shootout at the Shuafat checkpoint in East Jerusalem on Saturday evening.
Both men were rushed to a Jerusalem hospital for treatment after the attack, police and doctors said.
Lazar was pronounced dead in hospital, the IDF said, announcing her death hours after the attack after her family was notified.
The Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem said Sunday morning that the guard was operated on overnight by neurosurgeons and remains in serious condition on a ventilator.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid and President Isaac Herzog issued statements mourning Lazar’s death and promising to apprehend the attacker.
“With heartbreak I heard the news of (his) death,” Lapid said. “On my behalf and on behalf of the Government of Israel, I extend my condolences to his family and friends. There are no words to ease their great loss.
“We will not remain silent and know no rest until we bring justice to the depraved terrorist,” he said.
“Sending condolences to the bereaved family of IDF soldier, Sgt. Noa Lazar, for whom the joy of the holiday has turned into terrible grief and prays for the recovery of those injured in the shooting in Jerusalem,” Herzog said.
“No despicable terrorist will break our spirit. We will fight terrorism and continue to build our lives and celebrate our holidays. We trust the IDF and the security forces,” he said.
The Palestinian gunman apparently arrived on foot and fired on security forces at the checkpoint around 9 p.m. before fleeing to the nearby refugee camp.
Two Border Police officers were lightly injured by shrapnel in the shooting.
Security forces raided the Shuafat refugee camp after the attack in search of the shooter and two other suspects. Special forces units and a helicopter participated in the manhunt. Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman said the identities of three suspects were known to police.
Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, who arrived at the scene alongside senior police officials, said security forces “will get hold of the attacker, alive or dead”. Barlev said the shooter was a 22-year-old resident of Shuafat.
Police said three other alleged accomplices had been arrested. The suspects were in their 20s and from Shuafat and Anata in the West Bank, and Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem.
Three family members of the alleged shooter were also detained in Shuafat, Army Radio reported.
A man suspected of driving the shooter has surrendered to police and is believed not to have been an accomplice.
The driver claimed he was taking the shooter to Modi’in when the assailant exited the vehicle at the checkpoint and fired at least seven rounds, before his gun jammed.
The Gaza-based terror group Hamas said it ‘blessed the heroic operation’, calling the shooting a ‘reaction to the incursions into al-Aqsa and the occupation’s aggression today against Jenin’ . Earlier Saturday, two Palestinians were killed in an IDF-led arrest operation in Jenin, a city in the West Bank.
“These operations carry a message that the revolt of our people is ongoing and will not subside and that the operations, shootings and gunshots of our revolting youth will haunt the occupiers and herds of settlers everywhere in response to their crimes and their incursions. in Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Hamas said, but did not explicitly claim responsibility for the attack.
Photos from the scene of the shooting showed blood smeared on a section of cobblestones and sidewalks next to a guard post, as police sealed off the area with red tape and collected evidence.
Festive fireworks were reported in Shuafat after the shooting.
The incident comes as the military and police are on heightened alert in Jerusalem and the West Bank during the Jewish holiday season. The Prime Minister’s Office said that over Shabbat, Lapid conducted a security assessment ahead of the start of the Sukkot holiday on Sunday evening “with a focus on the deployment of forces to Jerusalem and Mount of the Temple, as well as elsewhere in the country”.
Tensions were already high due to an ongoing counter-terrorism campaign in the West Bank that has seen more than 100 Palestinians killed and more than 2,000 arrested in night raids, in which Israeli troops have regularly come under fire . Most of those killed were armed men or participants in violent clashes, but some were unarmed civilians.
The operation was launched after a series of attacks that killed 19 people between mid-March and early May.