According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, “A number of explosives were hurled from a vehicle at Israeli army forces that were securing the entrance of worshipers at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.”
Soldiers responded by opening fire, and a military engineering vehicle then hit the vehicle.
“As a result, the two terrorists were killed. There were no casualties to our forces,” the IDF said.
The terrorists were identified as 21-year-old Raed Hamdan and 20-year-old Zaid Nouri.
According to Palestinian reports, the incident came after clashes broke out when Jewish worshipers entered Joseph’s Tomb to pray.
On Wednesday, terrorists threw a large rock at a bus traveling north of Ariel in the West Bank. One woman was treated for shock, according to United Hatzalah.
The incident follows high tensions in the West Bank, as the IDF searched for two days for the Palestinian terrorist who killed two Israelis near the West Bank settlement town of Ariel.
On Tuesday night, the IDF killed Omar Abu Lila, the Palestinian terrorist responsible for the shooting, in the Palestinian village of Abwein near Ramallah.
Abu Lila shot at IDF soldiers during his attempted arrest, and was killed in an exchange of fire. No soldiers were reported to have been wounded during the incident.
“He was shouting ‘Allahu Akhbar’ during the exchange of gunfire with the Israeli soldiers,” a woman from Abwein said on Wednesday.
“I believe the shooting lasted for several minutes,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified. “Each time he was shooting toward the soldiers, the gunman – who was inside the building – was shouting ‘Allahu Akhbar.’ We could hear his voice from a long distance.”
Several residents of Abwein said they were surprised to hear that the terrorist had been hiding in their village.
The residents claimed that undercover IDF soldiers entered the village in the evening in two trucks loaded with vegetables.
“People here noticed that there was something suspicious about the trucks,” said Ayman, a high school pupil from Abwein. “These trucks normally come to the villages in the early hours of the morning to sell vegetables, so that women would have enough time to prepare food for their families. That’s why it was bizarre to see the vegetable trucks entering our village in the late evening.”
A group of young men began gathering near the mosque, as word spread about the presence of the suspicious vehicles, another eyewitness told The Jerusalem Post.
“Within minutes, we heard heavy gunfire and then saw dozens of military vehicles enter the village and head toward the building where the wanted man was hiding,” he said. “The soldiers prevented people from approaching the area and threatened to open fire at anyone who does not comply.”
Um Ayed, an elderly woman who said she was the owner of the abandoned house where the terrorist was killed, told reporters at the scene she was convinced that Palestinian “spies” had tipped off the Israeli security forces about the place where the terrorist was hiding. “May God punish the traitors and spies,” the woman added.
Several villagers shared her view. They claimed that were it not for Palestinian “collaborators,” the IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) would have found it much harder to track down the terrorist.
Some villagers said they did not rule out the possibility that the Palestinian Authority security forces, who conduct security coordination with the Israeli authorities in the West Bank, had helped Israel in reaching the terrorist.
“Omar was another victim of the cursed security coordination,” said a resident of Abwein. “People here are angry with the spies and the Palestinian Authority security forces, who continue to help Israel even as it kills our young men almost on a daily basis.”
The security operation was carried out by the Shin Bet, the IDF and the Police Counterterrorism Unit. Special technology was used to locate and identify the terrorist.
The operation triggered violent clashes with local Palestinians who threw stones and burned tires. IDF troops used riot dispersal means, injuring nine Palestinians, including one who sustained injuries to his neck and legs. Several others were detained.
According to local reports, Palestinians in Salfit and Nablus declared a national day of mourning on Wednesday, after the deaths of Abu Lila, Hamdan and Nouri.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the security forces for their efforts in locating and eliminating the terrorist.
“Israel’s long arm can reach anyone who tries to harm its citizens,” he said.
Tamar Ettinger, whose husband, Ahiad, was killed in Sunday’s attack, also thanked the security forces for their swift work, and called for the terrorist’s family to be exiled.
On Sunday, Abu Lila stole a vehicle and drove to the nearby Gitai Avishar junction, where he started shooting.
Just before Ettinger was shot, he was able to recognize that he was in the middle of an attack, drew his gun and shot at the terrorist a number of times, his son-in-law Ze’ev Goldstein said.
Another soldier, identified as Alexander Dvorsky, a young immigrant from Moldova, was wounded but is reported to have stabilized.
According to Palestinian news agency WAFA, dozens of armored vehicles entered a Palestinian village and surrounded a home where the terrorist was hiding. Troops cut the power lines and used loudspeakers to get him to surrender.
The report said that soldiers surrounded the house for almost two hours, before a firefight broke out and Abu Lila was shot and killed.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.
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