Where are the killers of Rina Shnerb?

While dozens of Palestinians believed to be connected to the terror attack have been arrested, the cell itself is still on the loose.

September 5, 2019 01:09
3 minute read.
Rina Shnerb, 17, was killed by an improvised explosive device in the West Bank, August 23 2019

Rina Shnerb, 17, was killed by an improvised explosive device in the West Bank, August 23 2019 . (photo credit: Courtesy)

Two weeks after an improvised explosive device (IED) killed a teenage girl from Lod during a hike in the West Bank, the members of the terrorist cell responsible for the deadly attack are still at large.

Rina Shnerb, 17, was with her father, Eitan, and older brother Dvir at the Ein Buvin Spring near the settlement of Dolev in late August when an IED planted at the popular bathing site was remotely detonated as the family approached. Shnerb was critically wounded in the attack, and was pronounced dead shortly after the attack by IDF medics. Her father and brother, who were evacuated to the Hadassah-University Medical Center Ein Kerem in serious condition, have both been released.
While dozens of Palestinians believed to be connected to the terrorist attack have been arrested, the cell itself is still on the loose.

While Hamas did not officially take responsibility for the attack, the Gaza-based terrorist group released a statement on Wednesday warning that “there is no security” for Jews on “our land.”

“Resistance in the West Bank by our heroic people will not allow the settlers to live safely on our land. The heroic resistance operations witnessed by the West Bank recently assures the enemy leaders and settlers of that,” the group said.

The IDF said the manhunt for the terrorists is continuing on several fronts, including with intelligence from the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police.

While the murder of Shnerb was the third terrorist attack in the West Bank last month, it was an unusual occurrence in that most West Bank terrorist incidents involve shooting, car ramming or knife attacks.

While there were several fatal shootings over the past year, claiming the lives of 16 Israeli civilians and soldiers, there’s been a significant increase in Palestinian cells planning to carry out IED attacks in the West Bank over the past two years.

The IDF and Palestinian security forces have thwarted many of those bombings, some of which could have dragged Israel into a large-scale military operation in the West Bank, according to officials.

One day before the deadly attack near Dolev, Palestinian security forces discovered an IED planted on a road frequented by IDF vehicles in the area of Mount Gerizim. The device was neutralized and the PA arrested a suspect.

Last month, the Shin Bet announced that it had foiled a series of attempts by the military wing of Hamas to establish terrorist cells in the West Bank, and that it had arrested an explosives expert who entered Israel with a humanitarian permit for medical treatment.

“The military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip continues to invest considerable efforts in establishing terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank, with the aim of promoting terrorist attacks in Israel aimed at undermining regional stability,” a senior Shin Bet officer said at the time.

Last January, Palestinian security forces uncovered and dismantled at least 12 roadside bombs, each weighing between 20 kg. and 30 kg., near the city of Tulkarm. While the explosive devices were planted on a road used mainly by Palestinian civilians, IDF vehicles also drive on it. Investigators believe those army vehicles were the target.

In April, two large IEDs were discovered before they were detonated. The military said they had no prior intelligence on the explosives, but had luck on their side. Had the attack been carried out, it could have changed the landscape of Israel, a military source said.

The writing on the wall for the explosion in Dolev which claimed the life of Rina Shnerb was there. It was waiting to happen.

And the longer the cell responsible remains on the run, the likelier the chance there will be other such IED attacks, either by the cell itself or by other Palestinians who want to imitate it.

So the question must be asked: How come Israel’s vaunted security services have been unable to find the perpetrators of such a serious crime?

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