First Sergeant Barel Hadarya Shmueli
First Sergeant Barel Hadarya ShmueliIsrael Police

The Border Police officer critically injured during Saturday's Gaza riot has been named as First Sergeant Barel Hadarya Shmueli, a 21-year-old resident of Be'er Ya'akov.

The family has asked that the public pray for the recovery of Barel, the son of Nitzah Shmueli.

Barel enlisted in the Border Police and underwent training as a fighter in March 2019. Following his training, he completed a course to join the Border Police's undercover Arab unit, after which he became part of the Border Police Southern District's unit (Yamas).

During his service in the unit, Barel completed a snipers course, and served as a Yamas sniper. He took part in dozens of operations to foil terror activity and fight serious crime in southern Israel.

On Saturday evening, during another operation on the northern Gaza border, Barel was shot by a Gazan from short range and suffered critical injuries.

Following the shot to his head, Barel was evacuated via helicopter to Be'er Sheva's Soroka Medical Center, where he was admitted to the trauma unit and underwent an emergency operation. He is now in the general ICU, in critical condition, and in imminent danger of his life.

Following Barel's injury, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) struck four Hamas targets for weapons manufacture and storage.

An IDF statement clarified that the strike was in retaliation for Barel's injuries.

At the same time, an IDF spokesman said: "Hamas continues to lead the Gaza Strip towards a policy of terror, while exploiting the civilian population. The IDF will continue to respond with attacks to attempted terror from the Gaza Strip, and sees the Hamas terror organization as responsible for everything occurring within Gaza territory."