Suspect in Pass Infant Killing Caught

The Israel Defense Forces arrested on Friday the Palestinian suspected of killing the infant Shalhevet Pass in Hebron in March of last year.

Nadav Shragai
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Nadav Shragai

The Israel Defense Forces arrested on Friday the Palestinian suspected of killing the infant Shalhevet Pass in Hebron in March of last year.

The man, Sudki Zaro, was arrested during a night operation carried out by Unit 101 near the suspect's home in the neighborhood of Wadi al-Aria in Hebron. He had avoided his home for months, fearing such arrest.

Since the killing of Pass, the IDF has carried out dozens of operations in an effort to capture Zaro, who has denied being responsible for the shooting the infant.

A senior Tanzim operative in the Hebron area, Zaro was a close associate of Marwan Zelus, leader of the Tanzim in the city. Zelus was killed four months ago when IDF attack helicopters fired missiles at his car in the middle of the city.

Following the killing of Zelus, Zaro continued his efforts to carry out attacks, and the security services attribute dozens of shootings and bombings in the area of Hebron to him.

Shalhevet Pass was killed by a sniper's bullet as she sat next to her father at a playground in the Jewish neighborhood of Avraham Avinu.

The killing turned into a slogan for the city's settler community, demanding that the IDF reclaim the heights of Herat al-Sheikh that dominate the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, and from which the shots that killed the infant originated. The heights were transfered to Palestinian Authority control in 1997 by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu under the Wye Agreement. Her parents even refused to bury their child until the government ordered the IDF to take over the hills. Only the intervention of a number of influential rabbis led to a decision by the child's family to go ahead with burial.

The settlers in Hebron did not react with particular joy at the news of the capture of the suspect. Had the government listened to them in the first place, they said, and not relinquished the hills, Shalhevet Pass would not have been killed.

They argued that the IDF presence in the town must become a permanent presence and assist them in establishing and broadening the Jewish presence in the city.

A small Jewish community lives among more than 100,000 Palestinians who dominate the city.

During the weekend the IDF arrested a number of wanted Palestinian men, including four found in the villages of Aqaba and Tamun, south of Jenin, and three near Rafah. More arrests were carried out in Nablus, the Deheisheh refugee camp, and in Jenin.

An IDF soldier was lightly injured in Jenin as a result of a road-side bomb and shooting on a unit operating in the city.

Missiles were fired against IDF positions in the Gaza Strip and further exchanges of fire took place near the border with Egypt at Rafah.



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