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Army: Israeli soldier killed in Hebron

Sept. 22, 2013 10:31 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 23, 2013 10:17 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli soldier was shot and killed by a Palestinian sniper on Sunday in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military announced.

Israel's military said the shooting occurred at a flashpoint holy site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque and to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarch.

In a statement, the army said a soldiers was critically injured after direct fire was opened toward soldiers in Hebron. One soldiers, who was not immediately named, was evacuated to a hospital where he later died.

The military said the soldier was participating in "routine activities" defending Jews in Hebron including approximately 11,000 people who were visiting the area for a Jewish holiday.

"The IDF is currently searching the area after the perpetrators, and movement in the immediate Hebron vicinity is temporarily restricted in order to prevent the perpetrators from fleeing the city," the army said.

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner was quoted in the statement as saying that "This lethal attack illustrates the complex security challenges the IDF faces on a daily basis in Judea & Samaria.

He added: "The IDF will employ the necessary means, operational and intelligence, to apprehend those responsible for this deathly attack. The IDF will continue to act to prevent terror and safeguard the civilians of the State of Israel and its soldiers."

A Ma'an correspondent and medics said Israeli forces placed Hebron under a complete lockdown, causing traffic delays and even preventing a pregnant woman from reaching a hospital.

Israeli soldiers raided houses and forced males out of some homes at gunpoint, assembling them at a junction on Tariq Bin Ziyad street, a Ma'an reporter said.

Near the junction, Israeli soldiers were also holding up an ambulance that was taking a woman in labor to hospital, a medic said. The medic said that the woman was about to give birth but the soldiers refused to let the ambulance through the street.

Before the shooting, clashes broke out in Hebron after Israeli forces closed shops in the Bab al-Zawiyeh area. They said Jews planned to visit a religious site during a Jewish holiday.

Israeli forces threatened shop owners with guns and Palestinians responded by throwing rocks. Soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades, injuring two people.

One school administration shut down classes to protect students in the area.
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