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Palestinians arrested but Tapuah shooter at large as IDF manhunt peaks

CM 04/05/2021

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Israeli security forces on Tuesday arrested Palestinians suspected of aiding the terrorist who committed the shooting attack at Tapuah Junction on Friday. The manhunt for the perpetrator is at its peak, the IDF said.
The shooter, a Hamas who lives in the village of Akraba, near Nablus, was still at large, Channel 12 reported. Akraba has been placed under lockdown, with residents unable to enter or leave.
The suspect was identified as Muntasar A-Shalbi from the town of Turmus Aiya, near Ramallah, according to Palestinian media reports quoted by Channel 12. Shalbi had recently returned from living in the US, the report said.
Security forces have been going house to house in Akraba and the surrounding villages and have arrested family members of the suspect.
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.
“As part of the extensive intelligence and operational activities of the IDF, the Shin Bet and the Israel Police to apprehend the terrorists who carried out the shooting attack at Tapuah junction in which three civilians were wounded, IDF fighters arrested several suspects in the area” overnight on Monday, the IDF said. “In addition, the forces confiscated the suspicious vehicle used to carry out the attack. The IDF, Shin Bet and Israel Police will continue to pursue the terrorists.”
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.”
Gantz was accompanied by OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Tamir Yadai and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Rassan Aliyan.
He was given a situational assessment and updated about the manhunt and preparations for the upcoming days.
Gantz held an in-depth discussion with Aliyan regarding the civil and political issues in the Palestinian arena.
“The IDF, the Israel Civil Administration and all of our security personnel have been working quietly, subtly but intently, over the past few months to carry out their mission,” he said. “We are continuing to do everything possible to help the Palestinians advance their economic and public health conditions, which is a mutual interest, and I suggest that no organization attempt to sabotage these efforts.”
According to initial IDF estimates presented to Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi on Monday, the shooting was a lone-wolf attack.
Two of the three victims remained in Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva on Tuesday in serious condition, while the third victim was released. All three are 19-year-old students from Itamar Yeshiva.
Ofer Peretz, father of one of the victims, told Army Radio his son Benaya was paralyzed by the bullet that struck him in his back and remained in very serious condition.
He said his son described the attacker as a large man who held the weapon with two hands after stopping 2.5 meters from the bus stop.
Peretz said his son was standing at the bus stop behind concrete slabs that are meant to protect against terrorist attacks, and he only saw one gunman in the vehicle.
The attack has created a ripple effect of violence, with Jewish extremists, presumed to be settlers, vandalizing Palestinian vehicles and homes, particularly in the village of Jalud, near Nablus. They have also thrown stones at Palestinians, lightly injuring two, according to reports form the left-wing organization Yesh Din.
Clashes also broke out between Palestinians and the IDF during the manhunt, including on Sunday in the town of Beita, near Nablus, where the search originally focused.
On Tuesday, settlers built a new outpost on a small hill not far from Tapuah junction, and 10 families moved into modular houses and tents erected overnight, according to the Samaria Regional Council.
It was named Evyatar and constructed at the site of the demolished Evyatar outpost, built in 2013 in the aftermath of the stabbing death of Evyatar Borovsky, 31, from the Yitzhar settlement. Borovsky, who was an actor and a father of five, was killed by a Palestinian terrorist at Tapuah Junction.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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