Israel Arrests Relatives of Suspect in Deadly West Bank Attack as Manhunt Continues

Israeli forces map home of suspect to prepare for possible demolition ■ Officials identify suspect as Omar Amin Abu Lila, a 19-year old with no history of security-related offenses

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Security forces search villages near the home of the suspect in a West Bank attack late on March 17, 2019.
Security forces search villages near the home of the suspect in a West Bank attack late on March 17, 2019.Credit: Israel Defense Forces Spokesman's Unit

UPDATE: Second Israeli succumbs to wounds from West Bank shooting attack

The Israeli army and Shin Bet security service arrested on Monday morning relatives of the suspected Palestinian assailant who killed a soldier and gravely wounded two others in the West Bank a day prior.

Omar Amin Abu Laila.

Those wounded, a civilian and a second soldier, were still in critical and serious condition, respectively.

Security forces continued searching for the suspect, who defense officials have identified as Omar Amin Abu Lila, a 19-year old resident of the West Bank village of Az-Zawiya with no history of security-related offenses. Abu Lila's house was mapped in preparation of a possible demolition.

>> Forget Iranian hacking: Israel facing the perfect storm after West Bank attack | Analysis

Dozens of young Palestinians clashed with security forces in the wake of the arrests, with local reports saying two were wounded by rubber bullets. Residents of Az-Zawiya told Haaretz that as far as they knew, the suspect was not politically active and did not belong to a terror organization.

The victim, Staff Sgt. Gal Keidan, is to be buried at 11:00 A.M. at the military cemetery in Be'er Sheva. The wounded civilian was named as Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, 47, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Eli and a father to 12 children.

Following the attack, the military blocked the entrances to the Palestinian villages of Salfit, Haris, Deir Istiya, as well as the entrance to the village of Kifl Haris. Security forces searched the adjacent villages and the military instructed nearby settlements to shut their gates until the attacker is found.

According to the military, the assailant approached the Ariel commercial center at around 10:00 A.M on Sunday, stabbed a man, grabbed his weapon, and began firing at nearby vehicles. He then entered a vehicle whose driver had fled, fired at a hitchhiking station, and escaped.

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