Two terrorists arrested for Friday attacks

Authorities have arrested the terrorists who carried out two attacks yesterday (Friday).

The first, Bara'a Issa, turned himself in to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, and admitted to stabbing a Jewish man in Sha'ar Binyamin. Issa is a resident of eastern Jerusalem and a member of the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade. Yesterday he published a video clip on social networks in which he took responsibility for the attack.

The second terrorist's name has not been released, though police say that he is 16 years old and from Bani Na'im, near Hevron. He was identified and arrested following an intensive joint effort by the General Security Service (GSS, also known as the Shabak or Shin Bet) and the Kfir Brigade of the IDF.

The teenager has since confessed to carrying out a shooting attack at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron yesterday, wounding two Jewish youths. He also told police where he hid the gun after the attack.

Shortly afterwards an IDF soldier was wounded in a shooting attack at a nearby junction. It is not yet clear if the arrested terrorist was responsible for that attack as well.

He was arrested during a large-scale IDF crackdown in Hevron over Saturday. Forces blocked exits from the city, a known hotbed of Hamas and other Islamist groups, following the end of Shabbat Chayei Sarah, when Jews read the Torah portion describing Abraham's acquisition of the Cave of Patriarchs to bury his wife Sarah, during which thousands flock to the holy site in a yearly pilgrimage.

Two Israeli teens were shot and wounded on Friday at the site, which Muslims claim as the "Ibrahimi Mosque."

Around 4,000 Jewish worshippers were visiting Hebron on Friday and Saturday.

Israeli forces searched Palestinian homes in and around Hevron, as well as setting up new checkpoints for vehicles and people.

In addition the army blocked off the northern entrance of Hevron with mounds of dirt. The eastern entrance has been sealed off for days.

On cue, far-left NGO B'Tselem on Friday reacted to the shootings by criticizing the Israeli army for carrying out "immoral and unlawful" measures which it said hinder Palestinian freedom of movement in Hevron, including closing off the Tel Rumeida neighborhood. 

"These steps constitute collective punishment of residents of Hebron who are suspected of nothing and are forced to suffer serious disruptions in their daily lives," the group said.

There were no clashes or attacks in the city on Saturday as troops searched for the assailants, but an army spokeswoman said a soldier was slightly wounded by "an accidental discharge of a bullet near a military position in Hebron."

The shooting attacks were the latest in a renewed escalation of violence on Friday, which began when a 72-year-old Palestinian woman was shot dead by soldiers after attempting to ram them with her car close to Hevron.

Further north, an Arab terrorist seriously wounded a 40-year-old Israeli man in the Sha'ar Binyamin industrial area just north of Jerusalem.

AFP contributed to this report.


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