Second Deadly Attack in Judea and Samaria within a Week

December 13, 2018

by: Kate Norman

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Israeli security forces have caught the terrorists from both the Ofra and Barkan shootings.

Thursday, 13 December 2018 | The second deadly terror attack within a week in Judea and Samaria has Israelis wondering if the region is facing a new wave of terror.

The latest attack came this morning when another Palestinian terrorist opened fire and killed two Israelis and injured two others, one critically and one seriously.

A car pulled up to a bus stop in Givat Asaf, between Beit El and Ofra, just under two kilometers (1.2 mi.) away from the site of the Sunday shooting that injured seven people, including a pregnant woman whose baby died Wednesday. In this morning’s attack, a Palestinian gunman exited the car and opened fire, shooting at both civilians and soldiers, before fleeing the scene, according to the Times of Israel.

The IDF reported that they have found the car abandoned and believe there were two or more perpetrators—the shooter and a driver—who took off on foot near Ramallah. They are still searching for the terrorists and have encircled Ramallah.

“IDF forces are searching the area for the terrorists, who escaped the scene, and are carrying out checks at all the entrances and exits in the area.”

Another attack occurred early Thursday morning when an attacker tried to stab a Jewish man in the Old City of Jerusalem, failed and ran to attack two Israeli police officers, wounding both of them. Nearby officers shot and killed the assailant.

This adds to a busy week for Israeli forces, who recently caught the suspected terrorists behind two deadly attacks: the recent shooting at a bus stop near Ofra in which seven people, including a pregnant woman, were injured and the shooting in the Barkan industrial zone two months ago in which two people were murdered.

The terror attack in Ofra—located in the northern part of Judea and Samaria—occurred Sunday night when a car pulled in front of a bus stop and the terrorists fired at a group of people waiting nearby. Security footage of the incident showed the victims running for cover shortly before the arrival of nearby IDF soldiers, who fire at the vehicle just before it speeds away.

Seven people were injured in the attack, including Shira Ish-Ran, who was seven months pregnant, and her husband, Amichai. The 21-year-old woman was rushed to the hospital, and her baby was delivered in an emergency C-section. However, the baby boy died Wednesday, just a few hours before the terrorist believed to be responsible for the incident was apprehended.

Just hours after the baby’s funeral, Israeli forces shot and killed Palestinian Salih Barghouti, the suspected Ofra shooter. Barghouti was a Ramallah-based taxi driver from Judea and Samaria.

The Shin Bet (Israeli internal security organization) said Barghouti tried to escape arrest and attack troops when he was shot while driving his taxi in the town of Surda, also located in Judea and Samaria. Also shot and injured in the taxi was Awad Barghouti, who was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem.

Ynetnews reported that both men were members of the large Barghouti clan from the Ramallah region in Judea and Samaria, a group with strong terrorism ties.

The Shin Bet said that four other people were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack.

Hamas, the terror organization that rules the Gaza Strip, posted a picture of Salih Barghouti on its Twitter page and claimed him as one of its members.

“Hamas announces with great pride the death of its martyr Salih Omar Barghouti, the perpetrator of the heroic Ofra operation,” the terrorist organization tweeted Thursday.

A funeral was held for the murdered baby—hailed as Israel’s youngest victim of terror—Wednesday night at the Mount of Olives. Some 300 people attended, the Times of Israel reported. In a tragic scene, the tiny baby boy, wrapped in a prayer shawl, was circumcised and named Amiad Yisrael before he was buried. The parents, who are both hospitalized for their wounds, had only seen Amiad Yisrael on Wednesday morning, the Times reported.

The emotional grandfather, Refael Ish-Ran, delivered a eulogy for the baby, saying even though his life was short, he had united the nation of Israel.

“You brought so much light,” Ish-Ran said. “And with all the light that you brought, we will extinguish their darkness.”

The IDF posted on its Twitter feed, “After a long pursuit, the IDF & other security forces carried out an overnight operation to arrest the terrorists responsible for the shooting attacks in Barkan & Ofra that killed 3 Israelis. The terrorists were killed in the operation. Terror has a price & terrorists must pay.”

The other terrorist attack took place on October 7 when 23-year-old Palestinian Ashraf Na’alowa murdered two Israelis and wounded another in a factory in the Barkan Industrial zone in Judea and Samaria. Na’alowa was killed in an exchange of fire when the Shin Bet, who worked with the IDF and the Israel police, tried to arrest him.

The Shin Bet stated that the terrorist was armed at the time of the arrest and was planning to carry out another attack, “which was prevented with the thwarting of the assailant.”

Na’alowa had been constantly moving to different hiding places since carrying out his attack in October. He was tracked and discovered by Israeli forces in a refugee camp in Judea and Samaria. Using the same rifle he carried in the attack two months ago, the terrorist fired at the forces, who returned fire and killed him.

Several of Na’alowa’s relatives and suspected accomplices have been arrested and indicted over the past two months during the hunt to apprehend him.

Na’alowa murdered Ziv Hagbi and Kim Levengrond Yehezkel execution-style in the factory where he used to work. Ziv Hagbi’s father, Yehezkel, told Ynetnews that it was a relief to know that his son’s murderer was no longer alive, though it brought him no comfort.

“He became a hero on social media, and there was fear all kinds of other terrorists would pop up and try to imitate him, and unfortunately that is what happened over the past two months,” he told Ynetnews.

Friday marks a significant date for Palestinians—the 31st anniversary of Hamas—which could be a significant motivation for the recent wave of attacks.

Posted on December 13, 2018

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 13, 2018)

Photo Credit: IDF blog. idf.il