Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

Israel’s manhunt for killer of settlers enters third day

Israeli forces are carrying out West Bank raids to find Palestinian perpetrator

Israeli security forces stand at the entrance of Barkan industrial zone in the West Bank Sunday, October 7, 2018. AP
Israeli security forces stand at the entrance of Barkan industrial zone in the West Bank Sunday, October 7, 2018. AP

The Israeli military’s pursuit of a Palestinian assailant who shot and killed two Israelis at a West Bank factory on Sunday has entered its third day.

The military says troops are in the attacker's hometown of Shweika, in the northern West Bank, on Tuesday.

The military has named the suspect as Ashraf Na'alwa. Several Palestinians have been arrested for questioning in connection with the attack. The military detained seven Palestinians in overnight raids.

Sunday's attack took place in the Barkan industrial zone, near the large Israeli settlement of Ariel, where thousands of Israelis and Palestinians work side by side. The zone is located near the Israeli settlement of Barkan and the settlement of Ariel located in the north of the West Bank.

The attacker killed 28-year-old Kim Yehezkel, a mother of an infant son, and Ziv Hajbi, a 35-year-old father of three, before fleeing.

Ms Yehezkel had been bound to a chair by Naalwa with cable ties before being shot, according to her father.

A third woman also shot in the attack was hospitalised.

Hamas, the movement that runs the Gaza Strip, welcomed the attack and called it a “natural response to the crimes of the Israeli occupation”.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group issued a similar statement.

Barkan has been touted as a rare example of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence. An Israeli woman also shot in the attack says a Palestinian treated her wounds.

The military said that the suspect used a homemade 'Carlo' gun in the attack. The gun has become a weapon of choice for Palestinians who carry out shooting attacks against Israelis. It is a sub-machine gun version of the Swedish Carl Gustav rifle that can cost as little as $780 to produce.


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The weapons also pose a security challenge for the Israeli military as these weapons are made at home with separate parts, such as scrap paintball guns and pipes, which are welded together.

A wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis broke out in 2015, but they have since become sporadic.

Such an attack against Israel’s settlement enterprise threatens an escalated response from the Israeli military and a spiral of events that have previously led to an outbreak of conflict.

The last Gaza war in 2014 took place after a series of events that began with the murder of three Israelis hitchhiking in the occupied West Bank. Nationalist Israelis reacted by kidnapping and killing Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the West Bank murder, setting off a mass Israeli response against the group. It responded by firing rockets into Israeli territory, giving the Israeli military cause to invade the coastal blockade. It killed more than 2,000 Palestinians in just seven weeks.

A series of rallies in Gaza against Israel’s siege of the territory since March have given rise to almost weekly scenes of death on the border as Israeli snipers have picked off protesters. The West Bank has remained a bastion of calm by comparison but there are fears that tensions in the Strip and from such killings could spill over into the occupied territory.

Updated: October 9, 2018 04:53 PM