Upsurge in violence in West Bank as two IDF soldiers among those killed in latest Palestinian terrorism

Published By ITCT News Desk On : December 14, 2018
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Israeli soldiers stand at the scene of an attack near the settlement of Givat Assaf in the West Bank, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. A Palestinian gunman opened fire at a bus stop outside a West Bank settlement on Thursday, shooting at soldiers and civilians and killing at least two Israelis before fleeing, the military and Israel's rescue service said. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

West Bank/Jerusalem: Two Israeli soldiers were shot dead Thursday at a bus stop on a main road in the Israeli-controlled part of the West Bank, the Israeli military said.

A third soldier and a fourth person were wounded in the incident, according to officials.

Vehicle that was reportedly used in the WB shooting.

Photo from the shooting attack site in West Bank

Photo from the shooting attack site in West Bank

Israel’s army said in a statement that the gunman stepped out of a vehicle and opened fire before fleeing the scene. The army was focusing its search for the gunman in the nearby Palestinian city of Ramallah, and said it had closed entry points to the city.

Sgt. Yosef Cohen – killed in WB shooting attack

Staff. Sgt Yoval Mor Yosef of the Israel Defense Forces’ Kfir Brigade – also killed in the WB shooting

Mor Yosef was from the southern city of Ashkelon. Cohen was a resident of Beit Shemesh. Both were members of the Kfir Brigade’s Netzah Yehuda infantry battalion, a unit for religious soldiers.

The IDF said Mor Yosef and Cohen were posthumously promoted from the ranks of sergeant and corporal respectively after they were killed by gunfire in the attack outside the Givat Assaf settlement outpost.

The fatal attack came on a day of heightened tension in the West Bank and Jerusalem. A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces at Al-Bireh, close to Ramallah, after the army said he had attempted a car-ramming assault on Israeli soldiers, one of whom was lightly injured.
And early in the morning, Israeli police troopers shot a man dead near the Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City after he stabbed two border police officers.
The Palestinian Authority’s ruling party has called on Palestinians to step up their confrontation with Israeli forces. “We call on our Palestinian people to be alert, to escalate the confrontation, and to activate the security committees to defend our villages in every part of our land,” read a Thursday statement by Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
As part of its call for escalation, the Fatah statement also paid tribute to two Palestinians killed in separate Israeli army raids in the West Bank overnight, dubbing them “heroic martyrs” engaged “in the ongoing battle to defend the rights of our people.”
The two were suspected of carrying out earlier shooting attacks on Israelis, including one which happened Sunday near the Ofra settlement, less than two kilometers away from Thursday’s fatal bus stop shooting. Seven people were wounded in the Ofra attack, including a pregnant woman whose baby was delivered prematurely but died days later.

The newborn Israeli baby was named Amiad Israel at the funeral.

 

Palestinian terrorist group Hamas claimed responsibility for the Ofra shooting attack in a statement, hailing the Ofra terrorist, Saleh Omar al-Barghouti, as a ‘martyr’.

Hamas poster mourning Saleh Omar al-Barghouti. Credit: Joe Truzman

IDF later released a video of the operation that resulted in the killing of Saleh al-Barghouti.

Saleh al-Barghouti worked for the Rafideen taxi company. The company is based in Ramallah. Israeli forces also detained Alaa al-Tarifi, the owner of the Rafideen taxi company, but later released him.
In another operation, the IDF also neutralized Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alwa, the Barkan terrorist who killed two Jewish Israelis in an attack in a West Bank factory two months ago.

Poster released by Palestinian Fatah party mourning the Barkan terrorist

Salafist militant group in Gaza. Tawhid Al-Jihad, called for more attacks in the West Bank in a statement. Credit: Joe Truzman

Palestinians at the Meghazi camp celebrate Barkan terrorist. Credit: Joe Truzman

 

ITCT Newsdesk obtained photos from the room where Ashraf Na’alwa was hiding when he was surrounded and killed by IDF troops.

 

Dozens of Israelis have been killed in such attacks in the past three years.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that there would be no ceasefire with Gaza, which is run by Hamas, while such attacks took place in the West Bank. After consulting with top security officials for several hours, Netanyahu beefed up troop levels in the West Bank, ordered detentions of Hamas activists and called for demolishing the homes of assailants within 48 hours.

“Our guiding principle is that whoever attacks us and whoever tries to attack us will pay with his life,” Netanyahu said at a military ceremony.

The Salafists of Salah Al-Din Brigades of Tawhid Al-Jihad in Gaza released posters threatening and applauding attacks in the West Bank. Credit: Joe Truzman

The Salafists of Salah Al-Din Brigades of Tawhid Al-Jihad in Gaza released posters threatening and applauding attacks in the West Bank. Credit: Joe Truzman

Qassam Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip paying tribute to Barkan terrorist Ashraf Na’alwa. Credit: Joe Truzman

Following Thursday’s attack, Israel set up checkpoints on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah, searching cars and checking the IDs of drivers entering the Palestinians’ typically quiet center of government and commerce. Some Israeli-controlled roads were completely blocked to Palestinian traffic.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said the measures were aimed at preventing “copycat” attacks. “We know that when there is one attack there may be others,” he said.

Inside Ramallah, streets were empty and shops were shuttered as the Palestinians called a general strike to protest Israel’s actions, including the killing of two wanted militants.

In the aftermath of the attack, Palestinians and soldiers clashed on the outskirts of. US Ambassador David M. Friedman tweeted: “The Palestinian Authority maintains laws that will compensate these terrorists and their families for their heinous acts. The PA can be a political body OR a sponsor of terror, not both.”

The IDF blamed the increase in attacks both on terror groups’ ongoing efforts, the “copycat” phenomenon and a number of significant dates coming up this week, notably the anniversary of the Hamas terror group’s founding.

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