Dead policeman in israel: the search for the sniper

The Israeli army raided a Palestinian village near Hebron. Earlier, an Israeli policeman had been shot dead there.

An Israeli soldier guards a checkpoint near the scene. Photo: reuters

The army combed the houses of a Palestinian village on Tuesday in search of a sniper who killed an Israeli in the West Bank. This was reported by residents of the small town of Idhna, located west of Hebron near the border with Israel. In Bethlehem, according to medical reports, a Palestinian woman died as a result of a tear gas operation by the Israeli army.

An Israeli policeman had been traveling with his family in a private car on Monday evening and was fatally hit by shots fired from the roadside. "The army is now focusing its raid on some houses and stores in an area close to the scene," a local resident reported.

Immediately after the attack, soldiers had completely sealed off the towns of Idhna and Tarkumja on both sides of the highway, for whose security the Israeli army is responsible. On Tuesday, the closures were relaxed. The Israeli army reported on Twitter that it was "now relying primarily on intelligence in the continued search for the sniper."

The motorist shot dead was a 40-year-old police officer from the Israeli city of Modiin. He was traveling with his family in a convoy of three cars to visit relatives in the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba near Hebron. There they wanted to celebrate the beginning of Passover with the traditional Seder supper.

His 41-year-old wife suffered serious injuries, and a nine-year-old boy in one of the two accompanying cars was lightly wounded. According to fellow passengers, the shots were fired by a "man wearing a helmet from a Kalashnikov," military radio reported.

Clashes at pilgrimage site almost daily

Palestinian staff at a hospital near Bethlehem reported Tuesday that the previous evening Israeli soldiers had fired tear gas shells near the home of a 45-year-old woman suffering from a respiratory illness. The woman reportedly inhaled the gas and died as a result before arriving at the hospital. The incident occurred on the northern outskirts of the city in the Aida refugee camp, which borders the Israeli barricades.

The Israeli army confirmed to the AFP news agency that it had used tear gas against violent protests there at the time in question. "We have reviewed the reports of the incident and concluded that the death of this woman was not due to the operation," the army spokeswoman said.

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers have been occurring near the Rachel’s Tomb shrine on an almost daily basis for nearly a year. Demonstrators repeatedly set fire to burning tires at the base of the watchtowers that tower over the eight-meter-high barrier wall there and pelt the guards with stones.

In January, an 85-year-old Palestinian died near Nablus, in the north of the West Bank, after inhaling clouds of tear gas in his home during an Israeli army operation.

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