Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian Suspected of Involvement in West Bank Terror Attack

Man identified as senior Hamas member's son ■ Incident follows death of baby who was delivered after mother shot in attack ■ Clashes erupt between Israeli troops and Palestinians throughout Ramallah

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Israeli soldier seen during manhunt for assailants who carried out a drive-by shooting attack in the West Bank.
Israeli soldier seen during manhunt for assailants who carried out a drive-by shooting attack in the West Bank.Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

Israeli troops shot a Palestinian man near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday as part of an ongoing manhunt for the assailants beind Sunday's drive-by shooting near an Israeli settlement. The man later died of his wounds at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.

The development came hours after the death of the baby who was delivered Sunday after his mother was seriously wounded in the attack. The baby's mother, Shira Ish-Ran, who was seven months pregnant when she was shot and seriously wounded, is in stable condition and remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit at the Shaare Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem. Her husband, Amichai, who was also wounded in the attack, is in stable condition.

Troops from Yamam, a police counter-terrorism unit, set out for the Palestinian village of Surda on Wednesday evening. Acting on intelligence leads, troops pulled their vehicle next to a parked cab where the suspect was sitting. According to police, the suspect was hiding in a mourners' tent, and was assisted by the people in it. The troops were attacked upon entering the tent, and responded with flash grenades and live gunfire. The suspect was critically wounded during the exchange.

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The funeral of the baby who was delivered following the shooting, December 12, 2018Credit: Emil Salman

Clashes erupted in several spots in Ramallah as Israeli army and Border Police forces searched for additional suspects. Israeli forces surrounded a house near the Palestinian Authority's headquarters, which is close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' home.

Palestinian reports identified the man killed as Saleh Omar Barghouti, 29, from the village of Kobar. Saleh is the son of Omar Barghouti, a senior Hamas member in the West Bank who is known as a veteran prisoner. Barghouti has been arrested and jailed multiple times by Israel, spending 28 years (non-consecutively) in Israeli prisons. His elder son, Assam, was held in an Israeli prison for eleven years for committing security offenses; among them was a plan to abduct Israeli soldiers.

A resident of the village of Kobar who knows the family told Haaretz that Saleh was not known to be affiliated with Hamas or influenced by his father, and at this stage it is unclear if he was involved in Sunday's terror attack, which took place near the Israeli settlement of Ofra.

Hamas responded to Thursday morning's events, including the killing of the assailant in the Barkan industrial area attack two months prior, saying: "The fire of resistence in the West Bank will not die until the occupation is lifted. The death of the two soldiers proves that the option of the Palestinian people is defiance. The West Bank will continue to support the forces of resistance and the blood of Neloah and Barghouti has not been spilled in vain. Hamas and the other resistance factions will continuie to support activity to avenge their death."

Islamic Jihad released a similar statement, calling on Palestinians to escalate confrontations.

Omar Barghouti told Palestinian media that a cab hit by Israeli fire belongs to his son. He also said that his son was taken by special forces and that he does not know what happened to him next.

A man in his twenties sustained moderate wounds in the attack, while four other people were lightly wounded — two boys and two girls aged 16.

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