Israel will take steps to demolish the home of the terrorist responsible for the car ramming on Friday afternoon that killed two soldiers and wounded two others, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday night.
The attack took place outside the Mevo Dotan settlement in the northern West Bank. The slain soldiers, who were killed instantly, were identified as Capt. Ziv Daus, 21, from Azor, near Jaffa, and Sgt. Netanel Kahalani, 20, from Moshav Elyakim, near Megiddo. Daus was promoted from the rank of lieutenant to the rank of captain after his death, and Kahalani was posthumously promoted from the rank of corporal to the rank of sergeant.The wounded soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva, one in serious condition and one in moderate condition. The seriously wounded soldier suffered severe head trauma and his condition was listed as unstable, with doctors fighting to save his life. Netanyahu issued a statement of condolences to the families of the murdered soldiers “from the depths of my heart,” and sent best wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded.“We will work to demolish the home of the terrorist and will deal with him to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.The IDF confirmed it was a terrorist attack as the driver intentionally sped toward the troops who had been standing near a pillbox post on Route 585, near the entrance to Mevo Dotan, some 10 kilometers southwest of Jenin where Palestinian protesters had been throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails toward the road.According to Channel 10, the soldiers were hit as they dismounted their jeep and were heading toward a nearby guard post. The murdered soldiers were reported to have been standing in front of the jeep when they were hit while the wounded soldiers were said to have been standing on the side of the jeep.The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) identified the terrorist as Alaa Kabha, 26, of the village of Barta’a, near Jenin, and a former security prisoner who was released in April 2017. He was captured by security forces shortly after the attack and was lightly injured.According to the Shin Bet, Kabha admitted to intentionally hitting the soldiers for nationalistic reasons. No accomplices have been identified at this stage of the interrogation. Kabha’s family claims he had no affiliation with terrorists and that it was only a traffic accident.While the IDF did not impose a full closure on Barta’a, troops were stationed on roads leading in and out of the village to prevent copy-cat attacks.Overnight Friday, troops from the Menashe Brigade entered Barta’a and mapped Kabha’s house for future demolition. Troops also searched for weapons and arrested a suspect, whom Palestinian media identified as Kabha’s brother.While no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the car ramming, both Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the attack and called for “further attacks against the Zionist occupation.”“This attack makes it clear that the intifada is continuing for the Palestinian people,” said Hamas spokesman Hazam Kasam.IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot visited the scene of the attack where he was briefed on the security assessment of the relatively quiet area of Samaria. He was joined by the new head of the IDF Central Command, Maj.-Gen. Nadav Padan, Coordinator of the Government in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, head of the Home Front Command Maj.-Gen. Tamir Yadai and commander of the Judea and Samaria Division Brig.-Gen. Eran Niv.On Friday evening, Mordechai ordered the immediate suspension of the permits of Kabha’s family, including 67 permits to work in Israel, 26 trade permits and four permits to work in settlements.Following the attack, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called for the death sentence to be imposed on Kabha.“Before the coming of the Sabbath, we were informed of a serious terrorist attack, and we will act to sentence the terrorist to death, to demolish his house and to punish anyone who cooperated,” he said.President Reuven Rivlin sent his condolences to the families of the slain soldiers on Saturday evening and wished a speedy recovery to those wounded in the attack.“May all the security forces be strengthened, operating in all arenas – in the field and in intelligence – to investigate those who perpetrated and assisted in the attack. We will not rest until we bring all those who cooperate with terrorism to justice. We will not allow terrorism to become an accepted norm,” he said.
Evacuation of IDF soldiers after West Bank ramming, March 16 ,2018 (Reuters)