Lapid: Murder of soldier by Palestinian Authority officer ‘escalates things to another level’

The terrorist was a PA police academy graduate who served as an officer in the PA’s counterintelligence force.

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday said that the murder of an Israeli soldier overnight by a Palestinian Authority intelligence officer “escalates things to another level.”

Major Bar Falach, 30, was killed in a shoot-out with two Arab terrorists in northern Samaria. One of them, Ahmed Ayman Abed, was later revealed by Palestinian media, and corroborated by Israel, to have been a graduate of the Palestinian Authority’s police academy and a current member of the PA intelligence forces.

Lapid in a statement called Falach a “warrior who fought terrorism with all of his might.”

“We bow our heads following the death of Major Bar Falach, an Israeli hero, the Deputy Commander of the Nahal Brigade Reconnaissance Unit, who was killed last night in a clash with terrorists,” Lapid said.

“He was killed as he and his soldiers heroically confronted and neutralized the terrorists. We send our condolences to his parents, his partner, his family, and his friends,” he said.

“One of the terrorists killed was a member of the Palestinian Authority’s intelligence forces. This escalates things to another level,” he said.

“We will not hesitate to act in any place that the Palestinian Authority does not maintain order. The IDF and ISA are prepared for every scenario in order to prevent terrorism from rearing its head,” Lapid went on, referencing the Shin Bet security agency. “They are prepared on all fronts, together with the Israel Police on the seam line. Israel will forcefully target whoever tries to harm it.”

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The Biden administration said it was “greatly concerned”over the escalation of violence in Judea and Samaria and pushed for more coordination between Israel and the PA.

“We want to ensure that security cooperation [between Israel and the PA] is robust and continuing to the greatest degree possible,” assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs Barbara Leaf said on Wednesday to reporters.

Falach and other soldiers were dispatched to investigate two people who security cameras spotted acting suspiciously near the Jalamah checkpoint.

According to Hebrew reports, the Palestinians were not identified as being armed. As the soldiers began to initiate arrest procedures, both Palestinians began shooting. The soldiers took cover and returned fire.

According to the IDF, one Palestinian was armed with a makeshift “Carlo” submachine gun, the other with a semiautomatic weapon.

“The whole encounter happens a few meters from the terrorists, that at this point we didn’t know that they were armed, but they were definitely acting suspicious,” said Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Avi Bluth.

Palestinian media identified the gunmen as Ahmed Ayman Abed and Abdul Rahman Abed. Both were from the village of Kafr Dan, north of Jenin.

The Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack and said both were members.

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The attack took place in the same area where Palestinian gunmen opened fire on Israeli engineers upgrading the security barrier on Tuesday morning.

Bar was laid to rest in his home town of Netanya. Hundreds of people attended the funeral.