Israeli Security Forces Carry Out Arrests in Pursuit of West Bank Spring Attackers

Palestinian Hamas operative previously imprisoned in Israel among those arrested in effort to gather intel on explosion that claimed the life of 17-year-old Israeli

Israeli army forces patrolling near the area of the explosion, west of the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 24, 2019.
Majdi Mohammed,AP

Israeli security forces are continuing the search for the assailants in Friday's West Bank attack that claimed the life of a 17-year-old Israeli girl, according to its Spokesperson's Unit. 

The Israeli army and Shin Bet security service expanded their presence in the West Bank Saturday and made several arrests as part of intelligence gathering efforts. None of the arrestees are suspected of direct involvement in the attack

Palestinians reported that Israr Ma'arouf from the village of Ein Qiniya west of Ramallah was arrested Saturday afternoon. According to reports, Ma'arouf is a Hamas operative who has previously spent time behind bars in Israel. 

On Friday, an improvised explosive device was set off in a natural spring near the Palestinian village of Ein Qiniya. Rina Shnerb, who was hiking there with her father and brother, was pronounced dead at the scene of the explosion. The father and brother were evacuated by military helicopter to Hadassah hospital in Ein Kerem. The father is said to be conscious and in moderate condition, while the son is sedated and on life support.

Hundreds attended Shnerb's funeral in the afternoon in her hometown of Lod.

Israeli forces usually patrol the Ayn Bubin natural spring, near the Israeli settlement of Dolev, starting at 11 AM. The Shnerb family arrived at the spring at 10 AM, and the device was detonated at 10:20 AM.

Defense sources said that the explosive device that was used was large, forceful and required advanced knowledge and skill to assemble. However, it has yet to be determined if the incident is tied to a major organization.