(VIDEO) Killed in action: Staff Sergeant Ido Shapira, 20, from Haifa was killed during an army raid in the West Bank town of Jenin Thursday morning. The troops were operating in the city in a bid to detain wanted terror suspects.
Troops operate in Jenin (Footage: Reuters)
During the operation, the paratroopers surrounded a home used as a hideout by wanted Islamic Jihad and Tanzim terror suspects, according to intelligence information received earlier. The troops encircled the house using the "pressure cooker" tactic in an effort to force the suspects to surrender.
However, gunmen inside the home fired at troops and hit the soldier, who sustained critical wounds and was treated at the scene. A helicopter was dispatched to evacuate him to hospital, but he succumbed to his wounds and died at the scene. IDF troops fired back at the shooters.
'Mom, I'm defending the country'
Ido Shapira's mother, Daniela, spoke of her son Thursday: "He died at peace with what he was doing, but I am left to deal with the loss my entire life."
"Before he joined the army I was sure I have no reason to worry because he's going to serve in the IDF's academic reserve, but then he decided to join a special paratroop unit, because there he believed in what he was doing and could fulfill himself," Daniela said.
"He was always telling me, 'mom, I'm simply defending the country and its people from terrorists who want to enter Israel.' He felt he was doing something important," she added.
According to Daniela, Ido once told her that even if he dies while serving, he would be at peace with himself.
Still, the bereaved mother said nothing could prepare her for the knock on her door Thursday morning.
"I saw five soldiers standing there and instinctively shut the door in their face. I didn't want to hear the news they were bringing me, it was obvious. Once I saw the soldiers I knew what they wanted to tell me," she said.
Ido's funeral will be held Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Haifa military cemetery. He left behind a father, Uri, a mother, and two sisters: Hila, 25, and Noa, 17.
Rifles, hand grenades recovered
Four wanted Palestinian suspects who barricaded themselves inside the Jenin house turned themselves in following the IDF siege. One of those arrested is the gunman who shot and killed the soldier.Troops who searched the house later recovered three rifles, two handguns, and two hand grenades.
A gunman who attempted to flee the house during the operation was also apprehended and all five men were taken in for questioning by security forces.
Palestinian sources said the detained suspects "were wanted since the beginning of the Intifada because of their involvement in shooting attacks against Israeli targets in the Jenin area, and particularly shooting attacks on the former settlements of Ganim and Kadim.
The Palestinians also said that local residents attempted to convince the suspects to surrender, until they finally agreed to turn themselves in as an IDF bulldozer was approaching the home.
IDF soldiers have been operating in Jenin and nearby villages since Sunday in an effort to detain members of Islamic Jihad and Tanzim members said to be preparing attacks in Israel slated to be carried out in the coming days.