Israeli Defence Forces arrested three Palestinians in manhunt for bomb attack perpetrators
Affected Countries: israel;
The IDF on Saturday arrested three Palestinians as part of a manhunt for the terrorists responsible for a terror attack that killed a teenage girl and wounded her father and brother near a natural spring close to the West Bank settlement of Dolev.
According to Palestinian news agency WAFA, two men were arrested during a raid in the village of Ein Arik close to Ramallah and another, a student at Birzeit University who has spent time in Israeli jails, was arrested in the nearby village of Ein Qiniya.
Other raids took place in the village of Beitunia. During the raids, IDF troops are also said to have confiscated surveillance cameras from businesses in the area.
On Friday, 17-year-old Rina Shnerb was killed by an improvised explosive device in attack at the Ein Buvin spring.
It was previously thought that the device had been thrown at the family from a car that fled the scene but it was determined that the IED had been planted earlier at the spring and remotely detonated when the family approached.
An attack of this kind is an unusual occurrence in the West Bank, where terrorists tend to carry out shooting, ramming or knife attacks. It is the third terrorist attack in the West Bank this month.
The army, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the police are in “the midst of a coordinated, broad intelligence operation to locate the perpetrators of the murderous and serious attack. I am certain we will locate the perpetrators soon and continue to provide security for residents living in Judea and Samaria,” IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said during a visit to the scene.
Wishing a “speedy recovery” to Eitan and Dvir Shnerb, Kochavi said: “I am in pain for the Shenrav family over the murder of the late Rina and I sending my condolences to the family on this difficult day.”
Rina Shnerb was critically wounded in the explosion and was treated at the scene before succumbing to her wounds. She was buried in her home city of Lod at 3.30 p.m., just one week after celebrating her 17th birthday.
Her father Rabbi Eitan Shnerb was moderately injured and his 19-year-old son Dvir was sedated and is still on life support with injuries to his entire body. Following surgery on Friday, Dvir’s condition improved; he was reported by Hadassah University
In the afternoon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Eitan on the telephone to wish him and his son a speedy recovery.
According to reports, Eitan Shnerb received a commendation during his reserve service when he thwarted a terrorist infiltration by two armed Palestinians in the West Bank.
IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis called it “a serious terror attack” and said that the military had still not determined if the terrorists acted as part of an established terror group or were working alone.
Netanyahu held a security consultation following the attack, adding that he was receiving constant updates on the search effort and would meet soon with the commanders of the country’s security force.
Kochavi, Head of the Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nadav Padan, Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Eran Niv and other senior commanders have been to the scene conducting a situational assessment, the IDF said.
According to Manelis, a reinforcement of troops was also deployed in a defensive maneuver to prevent any additional attacks. Blockades have also been placed in the area as troops searched for the terrorists.
“The army is dealing with attempted terror attacks, with lone-wolf assailants and with terror cells,” Manelis said, adding that there has been an increase in terrorist activities and violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Last month, the Shin Bet announced that it had foiled a series of attempts by the military wing of Hamas to establish terrorist cells in the West Bank and that it had arrested an explosives expert who entered Israel with a humanitarian permit for medical treatment.
“The military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip continues to invest considerable efforts in establishing terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank, with the aim of promoting terrorist attacks in Israel aimed at undermining regional stability,” a senior Shin Bet officer said.
While no group has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack, Hamas praised the attackers, saying that “today’s operation is proof of the vitality of our people, and their bravery and their failure to surrender to the crimes and terrorism of the occupation.”
Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh said that the attack was a warning to Israel to stay away from the “powder keg” that is Jerusalem.
“I welcome today’s operation, and although I don’t know who carried it out, I support them and wish them safety. The operation is a warning to the occupation concerning Jerusalem and Al Aqsa,” he said in a statement.
Describing the West Bank as a “volcano that will erupt,” Haniyeh said the group “warned Israel not to hold this election campaign at the expense of our historic right as the Palestinian people.”
In June 2015, another resident of Lod, 25-year-old Danny Gonen, was killed in a shooting attack along a dirt road after he visited the Ein Buvin spring, which has been renamed “Dani’s Spring” in his memory.