The man fatally shot Monday night near Hebron was Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi from Modi'in, it was cleared for publication Tuesday.
Mizrahi was 47 at the time of his death, a married father to five. Over the years he served in a number of roles within the security services. For the last three years he led the technology department in SIGINT – the intelligence division of the investigations department in the police.
Mizrahi belonged to a religious family, who could not be notified of his passing until the holiday ended. His widow was released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon in order to reach Kiryat Arba and tell the five children of their father's death.
Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi, 47
The terror attack occurred on Route 35 as the Mizrahi family was on their way to a Seder in Kiryat Arba. Mizrahi's wife was wounded in the shooting, who remains under observation at a Jerusalem hospital, as was a nine-year-old child who was driving in another vehicle.
Earlier Tuesday Palestinian news outlets reported that the IDF arrested a suspect, but he was released shortly thereafter.
Mizrahi, a native of Tel Aviv, served in the Israel Defense Force for 25 years. In both his regular and professional service in the military, he was placed in technological roles with an operational capacity – his last job in the army was as lieutenant colonel in the prestigious intelligence unit 8200.
In June 2011 he was drafted into the police forces from the military in the rank of chief superintendant. According to the police, Mizrahi was a central player in the design of the SIGINT department and drafting the arrangements for manpower in the operational technology sector.
"Privately and secretly he contributed a substantial donation to the police forces' efforts against serious and organized crime, as well as all cyber-related crime," said a police statement.
"Beyond that, he led many projects in his field of expertise, left his mark on a wide-range of developments, and contributed a donation of great value."
IDF soldiers at the scene of the attack (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
His commander, the head of the SIGINT department said "this is a loss first and foremost to his family and a massive personal and professional loss to the personnel of the unit, the division, the Israel Police, and the State of Israel."
On a personal level, the commander said that beyond being a first-rate professional, Mizrahi was "a real friend. Baruch dedicated his whole life to his two great loves – his family and the State of Israel."
Mizrahi's death was received with shock at the National Headquarters of the Israel Police. One senior officer said: "We found him while he was in the military; he was considered a genius in his field. He held knowledge that few others in Israel did. In every matter related to technology in the fight against crime he marched the division forward. He had vision and inventive ideas."
The deceased and his wife had five children between the ages of 3 and 13. She was hospitalized in Jerusalem overnight, but left Tuesday afternoon to inform the children of their father's passing.
The head of the trauma department at the hospital told Ynet: "The woman arrived with a wound in her waist and suffering from a bullet which broke her rib. Her condition is now stable and we are releasing her for a few hours to see her family and make preparations for the funeral tomorrow. She'll return to the hospital and be released again tomorrow."
Ilanit, a friend of the deceased's wife spoke to Ynet after conversing with Mizrahi's spouse: "She is still shocked but she is a very strong woman and is dealing with what happened with incredible willpower. She knows she has to be strong for the children. She is happy to have survived the attack so she can help them"
IDF forces are still in the midst of a massive manhunt for the terrorists responsible for the attack which claimed Mizrahi's life.
According to Palestinian News Agency (SAFA), Mahmoud Ahmed Nimer from the nearby village of Idhna was arrested, but was released by security forces hours later.
The IDF is in the process of removing the ring of barricades and checkpoints erected overnight around the village, where the terrorists involved in the attack allegedly fled.
However, many checkpoints are still operational and the door-to-door search of the village continues.
The IDF division responsible for the area is still looking into the terror attack. Currently, investigators estimate that the attack was premeditated and included a successful route for escape.
The initial investigation determined that at least one terrorist approached the road on foot, then opened fire from mere meters away on the first vehicle that passed by. After the gunfire, the attacker ran to another point, from which he fired on several other Israeli vehicles before escaping.
IDF forces say it's too early to reject the possibility that there was more than one terrorist behind the attack.
For the time being, the IDF checkpoints around Idhna continue to operate as "breathing" roadblocks, which allow Palestinians access in and out of the village after a brief search.
Route 35 re-opened Tuesday night for Israeli traffic, though the increased IDF presence along the roadway is expected to persist in the following days.
The original assessment of the attack determined it was a "lone wolf" incident – even if a number of terrorists were involved – and not an organized activity operating as part of the local terrorist infrastructure. Such events are difficult for security services to thwart, as they are less likely to be well-organized.
The Hebron area has a reputation for volatility over the past decade because of the proximity of Palestinian villages to Route 35, which Israelis use to reach settlements on Mount Hebron. But over the past year, the area achieved a relative calm.
Eli Senyor, Noam 'Dabul' Dvir, and Dani Adino Ababa contributed to this report.