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Israel arrests Palestinians suspected of killing settler

19 December 2021   |   10:03 am
Israel's army said Sunday they had arrested four Palestinian men suspected of shooting dead a Jewish settler and wounding two others in an attack in the occupied West Bank days before.

Israeli soldiers stand guard as settlers mourn during the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman, a fellow settler who was killed in shooting attack, in the settlement of Shavei Shomron on December 17, 2021. – An Israeli religious student was killed and two wounded on December 16 when their car came under gunfire near a settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)

Israel’s army said Sunday they had arrested four Palestinian men suspected of shooting dead a Jewish settler and wounding two others in an attack in the occupied West Bank days before.

“The four terrorists who carried out the shooting attack last Thursday were caught,” the Israeli army said in a statement.

“The suspects were transferred to the security forces for further investigation, and the weapon of the suspect who carried out the shooting was captured.”

The four are suspected of firing at least ten bullets at a car, killing 25-year-old religious student Yehuda Dimentman and injuring two fellow students as they drove out of Homesh, an illegal outpost in the northern West Bank.

The army said the suspects were caught in the village of Silat al-Harithiyah, in the Jenin governorate in the northern West Bank.

Israel captured the West Bank in 1967 from Jordan. Nearly 500,000 Israelis have moved into settlements in the territory, which much of the international community regards as illegal.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett praised the army, police and the Shin Bet security agency for the arrests.

“Every terrorist will know that Israel will bring him to justice,” Bennett wrote on Twitter.

“The pain is enormous, but terrorism will not win and will not move us from our place,” he added, in a message to Dimentman’s family.

‘Alarmed’ at violence

Dimentman, a married father, was studying at a religious school in Homesh, which had been evacuated by Israeli forces in 2005 but where settlers nevertheless continued to operate the yeshiva centre.

About 2,000 people attended his funeral.

Army spokesman Brigadier General Ran Kochav said he suspected the attack was the result of sophisticated coordination.

“I believe we are talking about a terrorist organisation,” Kochav told Israeli public radio.

Multiple Palestinian groups had praised the attack, though none claimed responsibility.

The arrests follow a tense weekend. On Saturday, Israeli border police arrested a 65-year-old Palestinian woman in Hebron after she allegedly stabbed and injured an Israeli settler.

On Friday, Jewish settlers raided the northern West Bank village of Burqah, near where Dimentman had been killed the night before.

An AFP reporter observed Israeli assailants hurling stones through the windows of homes and firing weapons.

Further south in the village of Qaryut, a Palestinian man was hospitalised after settlers assaulted him at home, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. Israeli police said they were investigating the incident.

It was the latest violence over the past month, which has seen Palestinian attacks on Israelis and the killing of Palestinians by Israeli troops during clashes.

On Friday, United Nations Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland said he was “alarmed by the escalating violence in the occupied West Bank, including east Jerusalem, which is claiming the lives of Israelis and Palestinians”.