Two Israeli women were wounded, one critically, in a stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Beit Horon Monday afternoon. A security guard shot and killed the Palestinian assailants as they tried to flee.
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A search of the settlement, which borders Route 443 between Jerusalem and Modi’in, found three pipe bombs that the terrorists had left behind. The two assailants had seemingly planned a combined attack using knives and explosives.
Slightly before 5 P.M., the two attackers stabbed the two women, one after the other, in the settlement. They also tried to enter a grocery store, but one of its employees repelled them with a shopping cart. The two males then tried to escape from the settlement, but a guard employed by the community shot them dead.
The attackers were later identified as Ibrahim Alan, from the adjacent West Bank village of Beit Ur al-Tahta, and Hussein Abu Ro’ash, from the Qalandiyah refugee camp, north of Jerusalem.
The Israel Defense Forces immediately sealed off Beit Ur al-Tahta in accordance with a previous order of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with only those requiring medical attention permitted to enter or leave.
"My thoughts and prayers are with those wounded and fighting for their lives after the severe terror attack at Beit Horon," said President Reuven Rivlin in the aftermath of the attack. "These difficult times are fraught with confrontation and we will overcome. We will continue to fight against terrorism and the incitement which drives it. In the face of terror, we choose life."
This was the fourth such stabbing attack within a settlement in just over a week. On January 17, Dafna Meir was stabbed to death outside her home in Otniel, in the South Hebron Hills; the next day, a pregnant woman was stabbed in a clothing store in Tekoa. And on Saturday, a security guard shot dead a 13-year-old Palestinian girl who allegedly tried to stab him at the entrance to the Anatot settlement, north of Jerusalem.
The focus on settlements comes after a period in which most stabbing attacks were foiled, the attackers having mostly tried to stab IDF soldiers in the West Bank and getting shot before they could inflict much harm. It could be that the widespread attention given to Meir’s murder by a 16-year-old Palestinian in front of three of her six children has led to attempted copycat attacks.
Also on Monday, the Shin Bet security service announced it arrested twin 18-year-old Palestinian sisters a month ago on suspicion of trying to build explosive devices.
The sisters, Diana and Nadia Hawila, live in Shuweika, a village north of Tul Karm. A search of their home found pipe bombs, fertilizers that can be used to prepare explosives and Hamas headbands, the Shin Bet said. The investigation found that Diana had purchased the materials and built the devices by following instructional videos on the Internet, and alleged that she planned to use the bombs in attacks against Israelis. Nadia is suspected of helping her sister hide the devices.
The two women were recently charged in Samaria Military Court. According to the Shin Bet, Diana “was exposed through the Internet to extremist Islamic preaching that encouraged women to take part in terror attacks.”