The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) new partner, Hamas, praised an overnight shooting attack against soldiers at a checkpoint in northern Samaria, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported.
The Gaza-based group lauded what it called “the shooting attack that took place at the Tapuach Junction in eastern Shechem that led to the death of Alaa Mahmoud Odeh and the wounding of a Zionist soldier,” Ma’ariv said.
Israeli troops shot and killed Odeh, 31, of the village of Awartaa when he pulled out a pistol and opened fire on them, near midnight.
But while Hamas hailed the shooting attack as “heroic,” rival-turned-partner Fatah denied that he was armed.
The group is headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who recently signed a unity deal with the terrorist organization, and swore in a 17-member joint government on Monday.
“The blood of the victim was not shed in vain; he was shot in cold blood,” said a statement released by the group, Channel 10 news said.
In the call, a quick volley of shots are first heard, and then an individual in the vehicle who is apparently waiting for the dispatcher asks a second person, “Do you see who was killed?” as both try to figure out where the shooting is taking place:
Dispatcher: “Call center.”
Motorist: “Shalom. There are shots being fired at Tapuach Junction.”
Two shots ring out.
Motorist: “There – did you hear that?”
An initial investigation revealed that after Odeh pulled out a gun and opened fire, the senior Border Guard soldier and a Nahal Brigade soldier at the scene charged towards the terrorist and fired back, killing him, according to Army Radio.
“I received an alert from (an Israeli) resident that a suspicious individual was at the hitchhiking post near the checkpoint,” the border guard said.
“I sent the (IDF) soldier to check the suspect, and then saw he was firing at us,” he said. “I and the Nahal Brigade soldier charged and ‘neutralized’ the terrorist.”
One soldier sustained a light-to-moderate wound in his leg during the firefight, and was evacuated to Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva a short time later.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, who was in the area, visited the scene of the attack minutes after it transpired. Army reinforcements were deployed to the scene.
Gantz congratulated the soldiers on their bravery, according to Israel’s Channel 2.
Groups of Palestinians later gathered nearby and hurled stones at passing Israeli motorists, wounding two who were hit by the rock barrages. Security forces dispersed them.
Later Tuesday afternoon, several dozen Israelis gathered in the same area, charging that “terrorism had again reared it’s head,” and demanded the IDF be more proactive in quelling attacks.
The locale has been the site of numerous attacks against soldiers and Israeli civilians.
Last Friday, IDF troops thwarted a would-be suicide bomber who approached them, and later fanned out in hot pursuit of his accomplices.
IDF sources said the terror cell provided the suspect, a Shechem (Nablus) – area resident, with clear instructions on how to perpetrate the attack.
A senior source at the IDF Central Command told Ma’ariv daily that they had no prior intelligence alerts that such an attack was in the offing.