Prime Minister Yair Lapid shared a statement from his office on Wednesday after Maj. Bar Pelah was identified as the Israeli officer killed in an overnight shootout with Palestinian gunmen near the West Bank security border.
Pelah was the commander of the Nahal reconnaissance unit who reportedly fired back at the shooters before being fatally wounded.
“Maj. Bar Falah, a fighter and commander, the Deputy Commander of the Nahal Brigade Reconnaissance Unit, was killed overnight in a counterterrorism operation. There are no words to console his family, his partner and his friends for the loss of their loved one,” Lapid shared in his statement.
“Bar was a dedicated soldier, who fought terror and led his troops until his last hour. The operation in which he was killed thwarted a major terrorist attack and saved lives,” he continued. “We feel the pain of his loss together with you. May Bar’s memory be a blessing.”
According to reports, two suspects were spotted near the security barrier who opened fire at close range. The IDF forces returned fire and killed the two terrorist shooters.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi also shared a tribute regarding Pelah on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, last night we lost an IDF officer in an operational activity against Palestinian terrorists. I extend my condolences to the officer’s family and partner, I support and hug them,” he said.
The IDF is currently investigating the two shooters to determine if they belong to the same group that opened fire at a Defense Ministry vehicle in the area the previous day. The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for the overnight attack, releasing a video of the shooters. The Brigades group is affiliated with the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah faction.