IDF Officer Dead in Clash; 4 Arabs Captured at Border

An Israel Defense Force officer and an Arab infiltrator from Jordan were killed Thursday when five Arabs armed with pistols and knives crossed the Jordanian border in order to launch a revenge attack for last month’s Temple Mount killings.

The slain Israeli officer was reserve Capt. Yehuda Lipschitz of Ra’anana. He was killed by a bullet to his head fired from some distance, and died shortly afterward. He was buried Thursday at the Kiryat Shaul cemetery near Tel Aviv.

The incident took place as Palestinians observed a general strike throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip one month after the riot on the Temple Mount. Shops were closed and public transportation halted in observance of the killing of at least 17 Arabs on Oct. 8.

There was also heightened vigilance against anti-Arab attacks expected in the wake of the burial Wednesday of Rabbi Meir Kahane, slain leader of the anti-Arab Kach movement.

The group involved in the Jordan Valley gunfight included a Palestinian and four Jordanian policemen in civilian clothes, according to an IDF source. The Palestinian was serving as their guide, the source said.

IDF soldiers, responding to a report of a break in the border fence, rushed to the area, where they stopped the five men at dawn at al-Ouja village, north of Jericho and some 20 miles northeast of Jerusalem.

One man was killed while the other four, including a wounded man, were captured.

The infiltrators were armed with guns and knives and carried a Koran. They also carried slips of paper with "God is Great" written on them.

One of the infiltrators belonged to the Palestine Liberation Organization, according to Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Mordechai, IDF commander of the West Bank.

The captured men told Israeli interrogators they had intended to pray on the Temple Mount and then attack Jewish civilians and police at the Western Wall, according to the IDF spokesman’s office.

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