TEL AVIV (Apr. 17)
A kibbutz worker was killed Wednesday morning and three others were wounded by an armed infiltrator from Jordan.
The gunman, one of a pair who managed to cross the border undetected, was killed shortly afterward in a brief exchange of fire with an Israel Defense Force unit, in which an officer was slightly wounded.
According to unconfirmed reports, the second intruder was also tracked down and killed by the IDF.
The shooting, at Kibbutz Neveh Ur in the Beit She’an Valley, less than a mile from the Jordanian border, was the second there in three days.
On Monday night, an armed infiltrator lying in ambush near the kibbutz seriously wounded a soldier before he was gunned down. The soldier, 1st Sgt. Doron Brauner, 22, was reported still in critical condition with chest wounds at Rambam Hospital in Haifa.
Wednesday’s victim was identified as Gideon Ezra, 32, an unmarried kibbutz member who was killed instantly by automatic fire.
Three of his companions, one a volunteer from Britain, were wounded. They were rushed to area hospitals, where their conditions were reported not serious.
The four men were riding in a tractor-towed cart to work in a field west of the kibbutz when the assault occurred at about 8:45 a.m. local time.
The killer emerged from hiding, smiled broadly and sprayed the kibbutz members with automatic fire, eyewitnesses said.
The tractor driver, initially identified only as Daniel, was chased by the marauder but managed to escape unharmed and sounded the alarm.
NINTH SUCH INCIDENT THIS YEAR
IDF units and helicopter gunships converged on the area to conduct a massive search. All towns and settlements in the area were put on high alert.
The intruder was traced by Bedouin trackers of the IDF and killed after a short gunfight. Documents on his body identified him as a Jordanian member of the Popular Palestinian Army.
Like the gunman killed in the same area Monday night, he carried a pamphlet from Hamas, the Islamic extremist movement active in the Palestinian uprising.
The infiltration was the ninth this year across the long-quiescent Jordanian border and the first in which an Israeli civilian was killed.
Defense Minister Moshe Arens visited the scene Wednesday, accompanied by Lt. Gen. Ehud Barak, the IDF chief of staff, and Maj. Gen. Danny Yatom, commander of the central region.
They ordered an inquiry to find out how armed terrorists are managing to cross the border undetected in a densely populated region crisscrossed by well-traveled roads.
Yatom told reporters that the IDF held the Jordanian authorities fully responsible for preventing the attacks.