Victim of Hebron Shooting Senior Officer in Israel Police

Search continues for assailant; Netanyahu says attack result of PA incitement; U.S. condemns shooting.

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Israeli soldiers check their weapons at a staging near the West Bank city of Hebron April 15, 2014.
Israeli soldiers check their weapons at a staging near the West Bank city of Hebron April 15, 2014. Credit: Reuters

The Israeli who was killed in the shooting attack near Hebron on Monday night has been identified as Israel Police Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi, 47, a resident of Modi’in.

Mizrahi's wife, 28, was also in the car. She sustained moderate wounds to the torso and was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

A 9-year-old boy in a nearby vehicle was lightly injured in the shooting.

Mizrahi, a father of five, was a department chief in Israel Police’s signal communications intelligence unit. Before enlisting in the police, he served in the Israel Defense Forces for 25 years in various positions, including as a lieutenant colonel in the 8200 intelligence unit.

Mizrahi and his wife were driving on Route 35 northwest of Hebron. They had been heading to the Jewish settlement in Hebron to celebrate the holiday.

The U.S. State Department condemned the attack on Tuesday, saying that it "supports Israel's efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered the bereaved family his condolences, and said that the attack was a direct result of the Palestinian Authority's incitement.

"The Palestinian Authority keeps broadcasting on its official channels messages which incite against the existence of the state of Israel," Netanyahu said. "Last night, this incitement translated into a murder of a father who was driving with his family to celebrate the Seder." He also criticized the PA for not condemning the "heinous, criminal act."

Economy Minister and Habayit Hayehudi head Naftali Bennett said Tuesday that "the Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, encourages and funds killers of Jews on one hand, and with the other hand it blackmails Israel into releasing those murderers. They seek terror, not peace."

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department said that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will meet again on Wednesday. "They are working on an agreement to extend peace talks," it said.

According to Palestinian officials, the most recent meetings did not result in any significant progress, and the Palestinians continue to demand that the fourth wave of prisoners be released. Senior officials told Haaretz that any deal to extend talks beyond April 29 must be based on two clear principles: A full freeze of settlement construction, and that future talks must focus on the issue of borders.

Search continues

The Israeli army lifted on Tuesday morning the blockade over the Palestinian village of Idna near Hebron, where the suspected shooter behind Monday's attack is thought to be hiding. Palestinians from the Idna said there was a large contingent of Israeli forces searching the village and questioning local residents.

According to witnesses, the forces collected testimony from residents and looked for private security cameras set up throughout the village, in attempts to identify the person responsible. Aside from extensive searches with canines and electronic equipment, the Israeli forces set up many checkpoints. Residents also complained of damage to private property that resulted in clashes with the soldiers, primarily in the northern and western neighborhoods of the village, due to their proximity to the scene of the shooting. According to residents, the village has been on lockdown since Sunday, and very few vehicles have been allowed to leave.

The attack occurred Monday evening, before the Passover seder, on Route 35 northwest of Hebron. The deceased, a 40-year-old man whose name is still under gag-order, suffered critical wounds but after resuscitation attempts paramedics announced his death. His wife, 28, who was with him in the car, suffered moderate wounds to the upper body and was taken to the Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem.

The couple were heading to the Jewish settlement in Hebron to celebrate the holiday. The shooting also lightly wounded a nine-year-old boy in a nearby vehicle.
According to the investigation, the shooter, armed with an AK-47, most likely stood by the side of the road. However, the possibility that the attack was perpetrated by two shooters is also being examined.

Israel Police Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi, who was shot near Hebron on his way to a Passover Seder.Credit: Israel Police

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