Manhunt continues for Tapuah Junction terror suspect
Israeli security forces surrounded a building in the West Bank village of Akraba on Wednesday with suspicion that the suspect of the Tapuah junction shooting was inside.
Gunfire and explosions were heard for several hours with a live feed of the incident playing out on Facebook.
By noon however it was reported that the shooter was not inside.
The suspect was identified as Muntasir Shalabi, who is alleged to have shot and wounded three Israelis at the Tapuach Junction on Sunday.
Shalabi is reportedly from the town of Turmus Aiya, near Ramallah, according to Palestinian media reports quoted by Channel 12. He had recently returned from living in the US, the report said. Further media reports claim that Shalabi also had US citizenship before returning to the Palestinian territories.
Overnight Wednesday, Shalabi’s wife was detained by Israeli security forces. She was later released.
Shalabi’s 17-year-old son was detained by troops in a raid on his village of Turmas Ayya earlier in the day.
Security forces have been going house to house in Akraba and the surrounding villages and have arrested dozens of Palestinians, many of them family members of the suspect, on suspicion that they provided shelter or other support to Shalabi who has since been on the run.
Those arrested for suspected involvement in the attack were handed over to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
The IDF confiscated the burnt remnant of the shooter’s bullet-ridden vehicle on Monday.
Concerned that violent attacks could increase along with copy-cat attacks, the IDF has sent reinforcements to the West Bank.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division on Tuesday afternoon and vowed to bring the attackers to justice.
He ordered the military to maintain high vigilance following recent events and ahead of the coming days, which could make the area even more volatile than usual.
“I have ordered a continued state of high alert in the area given the recent incidents,” he said. “Over the course of the past day, Israeli security forces, the IDF and Shin Bet have apprehended a number of suspects in the Tapuah Junction terrorist attack. We will catch the terrorists and settle the score with them.”
Violence in the area of Nablus has spiked following the shooting attack, with Israeli settlers carrying out revenge attacks against Palestinians. On Tuesday evening farmlands were set ablaze and homes attacked in the village of Burin south of Nablus.
Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors Israeli settler activities in the northern West Bank, was quoted by Palestinian news agency WAFA as saying that Israeli settlers set fire to a large tract of farmland in the eastern section of the town and attacked at least three houses.