An IDF officer was killed last night (February 11) when a terrorist opened fire near the entrance to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

An IDF patrol in Bethlehem spotted a suspicious car with Israeli license plates (it was later determined that the car was stolen). The patrol, suspecting the vehicle may have contained a car bomb, prepared to detonate the car in a controlled explosion.

During and after the detonation of the suspicious vehicle, the IDF patrol, following the orders of the commander of the company, checked to ensure that people did not approach the area and might be harmed from the explosion or the flames.

Shortly after the detonation, an armed terrorist, standing in a nearby alley, opened fire toward the soldiers, seriously wounding the commander of the company. The commander later died of his wounds.

The current round of IDF operations in Bethlehem began on November 21, 2002, following a terrorist attack in the Kiryat Menachem neighborhood of Jerusalem which killed 11 people and wounded 54. Since the above-mentioned date, IDF forces have captured 240 wanted Palestinians, 15 of whom were terrorists who had intentions of carrying out suicide bombings against Israeli civilians and soldiers.