IDF forces have carried out dozens of arrests as part of the effort to capture the terrorist As'am Barghouti who carried out the shooting attack in Givat Assaf. .
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
A Palestinian was indicted in the Judea Military Court on Monday for murdering two IDF soldiers and a baby, and for around a dozen attempted murder counts in a series of horrific terror attacks in the West Bank against Israelis in December.
Assam Omar Tzalach Barghouti is accused of killing Staff Sgt. Yuval Mor Yosef, 20, of Ashkelon and Sgt. Yosef Cohen, 19, of Beit Shemesh. In the incident, Barghouti allegedly got out of his car and mowed them down with gunfire as they stood at a bus stop near Route 60 at the T-junction, outside the outpost of Givat Assaf in the Binyamin region.
There was a spike in Palestinian attacks on Israelis that day and around that time, but it was the Givat Assaf attack on December 13 that struck a more emotional note. It came after the late night funeral of a three-day-old baby boy born prematurely as the result of a drive-by shooting also by Barghouti at a bus stop outside of the Ofra settlement. The December 9 shooting injured seven, including the baby’s parents, Shira and Amichai Ish Ran.
Between the two attacks, around a dozen others could have been killed by Barghouti.
Security forces later captured Barghouti and, in the process, killed his brother, Salah, who had aided him.
Moments before the soldiers were attacked on December 13, they stopped for coffee and tea by Raz Chen’s small wagon coffee shop, which he had set up just the week before outside the Givat Assaf outpost.
“They had coffee and tea. They ordered burekas and malabi. A few moments after they drank and ate, we heard shots,” said Chen at the time of the attack.
“We went out to the road. When we understood it was an attempt, we went to help,” he said. “But to our sorrow, they were already dead.”
His truck is located in the parking lot, just below the Givat Assaf outpost, a small hilltop community of caravans that was built in 2001. It was named after Ofra resident Assaf Hershkovitz, who was killed there by a Palestinian gunmen.
Settlers believe that their presence at the junction is critical to ensure security on Route 60.
Barghouti perpetrated the attacks only six months after being released from having served an 11-year prison sentence for attempted kidnappings.
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