Security forces arrested 42 Palestinian security suspects overnight, including 40 Hamas members, in raids across the West Bank. One of the suspects arrested is a female convicted terrorist released in the 2011 Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange with Hamas.
Soldiers also searched three homes overnight.
The arrests came as security forces continued an intensive search for the two Hamas members who kidnapped and murdered three Israeli youths last month. Searches continue to be focused in the northwest Hebron region, where the men are thought to be hiding.
Meanwhile, the IDF destroyed the home of Hamas terrorist Ziad Awad in the Palestinian village of Idna on Wednesday.
Awad – released in the Schalit exchange – has been charged by a military court for killing police officer Baruch Mizrahi and wounding two children when he opened fire with an automatic weapon on their car on Passover eve on Route 35.
Soldiers from the Engineering Corps planted explosives in Awad’s home, before demolishing it in a controlled explosion.
In April, Awad stood by the side of the road, near Tarkumiya checkpoint, shooting at passing Israeli vehicles, including the one driven by Mizrahi.
A child in a second car hit by gunfire was also injured.
Awad had previously been in prison for murdering Palestinians he accused of cooperating with Israel.
“The destruction of the homes of terrorists is a message of deterrence to terrorists and their partners,” the army said.
“There is a price they will pay if they choose to continue with terrorist activities and harming innocent civilians,” it added.
Senior security sources said last month that Awad acquired a motorcycle and the machine gun, and planned the attack in detail. A week before the shooting he scouted out the location to gather intelligence, according to the Shin Bet. After the killing, Awad told his son, Aladdin, that he carried out the shooting for religious reasons and that “according to Islam, anyone who kills a Jew goes to heaven,” the Shin Bet said.
A senior army source said of the shooting, “This attack was planned thoroughly, ahead of time. He is a Hamas member, and he used a standard [automatic weapon] to fire on the vehicle, before fleeing the scene on a motorcycle.”
The Shin Bet, the police’s counterterrorism unit, the police’s crime scene investigation officers, and the IDF all joined forces to track Awad down, the source said.
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