IDF strikes Gaza after Border Police officer shot at point-blank range

Written by on August 22, 2021

The Border Police officer shot along the Gaza border during violent protests on Saturday was identified as 21-year-old St.-Sgt. Bar-el Shmueli from Beer Yaakov in central Israel.

Shmueli, who enlisted in 2019 and served as a sniper in the Border Police’s Mistaravim Undercover unit in the South, underwent several surgeries at Soroka hospital in Beersheva and remains in critical life-threatening condition.

 21-year-old St.-Sgt. Bar-el Shmueli from Beer Yaakov, shot by a Palestinian militant during Gaza border riots (credit: BORDER POLICE) 21-year-old St.-Sgt. Bar-el Shmueli from Beer Yaakov, shot by a Palestinian militant during Gaza border riots (credit: BORDER POLICE)

Shmueli’s commander, Chief Superintendent K, told 103FM that he was “a valued, sociable, professional fighter” who had been mentoring new recruits.

— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) August 21, 2021

According to K,  Shmueli was shot in the head through a firing position where troops are stationed “to prevent terrorists and rioters from reaching Israeli territory.”

“Having an armed terrorist with a weapon in a crowd is not something that we routinely see in the disturbances,” K said. “It was quite unusual, the boldness and daring of the militants to get as far as the soldier with the weapon.” 

When asked about the force’s readiness for a scenario in which Palestinians try to hit an IDF soldier from point-blank range, K. said that it was an event that they had prepared for.

Shmueli was shot by a Palestinian who had been able to approach the perimeter fence and fire a handgun into Shmueli’s firing position.

A video shows Palestinians along the Gaza border fence this evening firing a gun into an IDF firing position.

— Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) August 21, 2021

The attack was seen in a video shared on social media where dozens of Palestinians were seen gathering along the fence near Shmueli’s position. One was seen trying to snatch his weapon; although the Palestinian managed to grab the barrel, Shmueli managed to pull it back.

“The soldier fought back and prevented the gun in his hands from being taken away,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.

In another video of the same incident, Palestinians are then seen throwing objects and hitting the barrel of the weapon, and then one rioter is seen approaching Shmueli’s position and firing a handgun into it.

The IDF opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Speaking to Israeli media, the officer’s parents called the event a failure in the army.

“There was obviously a mess-up there, how did they even get to the fence? Since when is it prohibited to shoot them? They came to kill him, it’s a big mess-up for the army,” they said, adding that “a riot needs to be dispersed properly. Why does my son have to get to the hospital because of a riot?”

— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) August 22, 2021

Following the violent riots in which 41 Palestinians were injured including two critically, the IDF carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip targeting four Hamas weapons and storage manufacturing sites.

Israeli aircraft strike Hamas sites in Gaza after border clashes (Video Credit: Reuters)

During the retaliatory strikes Palestinians fired machine guns toward the Israeli aircraft. The gunfire hit several homes in Sderot causing damage and a 16-year-old Israeli civilian was lightly wounded while running to a bomb shelter, KAN reported.

תושבים בשדרות טוענים שנפלו בעיר קליעים מירי נ”מ של ארגוני הטרור ברצועה. כוח משטרה במקום. נער כבן 16 נפצע קלות בריצה למרחב מוגן@Itsik_zuarets

— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) August 21, 2021

“Hamas continues to lead the Gaza Strip into a policy of terrorism while exploiting the civilian population,” the IDF said, adding that it “will continue to respond strongly to terrorist attempts from the Gaza Strip and considers the Hamas terrorist organization to be responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip.”

Following the violence along the border, the IDF deployed reinforcements to the Gaza Division, stating that “troops are prepared for any development.”

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