Today Israel mourns another of its defenders who was murdered at the hands of Palestinian terrorists. The terrorists, one of whom was a member of the Palestinian Authority security services, were killed in the subsequent shootout.

Maj. Bar Pelah, 30, the deputy commander of the elite Nahal reconnaissance unit was confirmed by the IDF as the officer who was killed.

According to the IDF, soldiers operating surveillance cameras spotted two suspects in the so-called seam zone between the West Bank and Israel, near the Palestinian village of Jalamah, during the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday. Troops dispatched to investigate flanked the pair and initiated arrest procedures.

At that point “the suspects opened fire at the soldiers,” the military said in a statement. “IDF troops took cover and shot at the suspects, neutralizing them.”

The two Palestinian gunmen were named by Palestinian media as Ahmed Abed and Abdul Rahman Abed, from the village of Kafr Dan near Jenin. Ahmed was an officer in the PA security services.

At this time it is not known if they were members of a terrorist organisation, but if they were not it demonstrates that the anti-Israel hatred and incitement is not limited to terrorist organisations but a wider part of the narrative coming from the top down in Palestinian society.

The commander of the IDF’s West Bank division, Brig. Gen. Avi Blot, told reporters that the gunmen had been identified more than two hours before the shooting and while an armed drone was deployed, it was not used because no weapons were detected on the pair.

Blot said the military suspected they were planning to ambush troops in the area, and it was only after soldiers approached them that they discovered they were armed with a Carlo makeshift submachine gun and another semi-automatic weapon.

Israel does not use deadly force against Palestinians unless it is necessary. The soldiers approached the men knowing they could be a danger, but unsure they were armed. In contrast, Palestinian terrorists do not care if an Israeli is armed or not, they simply want to kill Israelis. This is the difference between the two sides, and unfortunately, Israel’s humanity in this situation has resulted in the loss of one of its defenders.

“Sadly it is not a good morning. We lost an officer last night. I convey my condolences to his family and his girlfriend,” military chief Aviv Kohavi said.

We pray for the family of Maj. Bar Pelah. He bravely defended his land and his people and gave his life to that worthy cause.

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