IDF demolishes home of Barkan shooter

Ashraf Suleiman Na'alwa shot and killed Kim Yehezkel-Levengrond and Ziv Hajbi in the Barkan industrial area outside Ariel on October 7.

IDF destroys home of Barkan terrorist, December 17, 2018 (Reuters)
The IDF on Monday partially demolished the house of the Palestinian terrorist responsible for the shooting attack in the Barkan industrial zone in October, which killed two civilians.
IDF troops along with Border Police officers and Civil Administration forces destroyed the basement and first floor of the building where he lived with his family in the West Bank village of Shuweika near Tulkarm.
According to the Palestinian Maan News Agency, Israeli bulldozers demolished the three-story house before Israeli soldiers continued the demolition by hand.
During the operation, violent protests broke out between IDF troops and dozens of local residents who threw stones and Molotov cocktails and burnt tires, the military said, adding that troops responded by riot dispersal means. There were no casualties.
“The IDF will continue to act in order to prevent terror and maintain security in the region,” the IDF said.
Na’alwa was killed Thursday by security forces after he had been on the run from security forces for two months since he shot and killed Kim Yehezkel-Levengrond and Ziv Hajbi in the Barkan industrial area outside Ariel on October 7.
The demolition order was signed by the head of the IDF’s Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nadav Padan while the manhunt to find Na’alwa was still ongoing.
While the IDF and Shin Bet have yet to track every location he was hiding in during his time on the run, it is believed that he first headed north of the Barkan industrial area to the northern Samaria region before back-tracking south to the Nablus area.
“He almost didn’t make any mistakes and was able to live on the run for a good period of time. He had a lot of luck and help after the attack,” a senior IDF officer said on Thursday.
The joint operation between the IDF, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Israel Police was able to track him to the Askar refugee camp adjoining Nablus after a large-scale intelligence effort. At around 1:30 a.m., security forces, including the police’s elite Yamam counter-terrorism unit, covertly entered the camp and cornered Na’alwa in an apartment there.
According to local media, which posted pictures from the scene showing hundreds of bullet holes in the room where Na’alwa was killed and a bloodstain in the corner where he died, troops entered the apartment with heavy fire.
The IDF said Na’alwa was armed with the Carl-Gustav submachine gun which he had used to murder Yehezkel-Levengrond and Hajbi. He engaged Yamam forces in a lethal firefight. No Israeli troops were injured.
For two months, Na’alwa eluded capture by security forces while Israel combed the northern West Bank, conducting dozens of raids, arresting and interrogating more than 100 Palestinians, and indicting several relatives and alleged accomplices.
“We knew about the house he had been hiding in, and we knew that he would fight and not surrender. We prepared for it,” said a senior officer whose name cannot be published, adding: “We are 100% active all the time. We invest a huge amount of effort into operations like this.”
The senior officer said security forces had been close to capturing Na’alwa on several occasions, but that he succeeded in escaping at the last minute. The officer said that the killer did not use mobile phones or any other communication technology, making it difficult for Israeli security forces to locate him.
According to security forces, Na’alwa was planning a second terrorist attack which was prevented by Thursday’s operation.
“There is no doubt that he didn’t relax during the past two months. He was planning to fight – to carry out another attack – and we knew that we need to get him before that could happen,” the senior IDF officer said.