Israeli Army Raids Home of Palestinian Who Killed Two Soldiers in West Bank Attack

Some 100 work permits revoked of family of assailant, 27, who was released from prison in April ■ Army arrests brother in raid

Israeli soldiers raid the home of the Palestinian assailant who killed two soldiers in a West Bank car-ramming attack, March 16, 2018.
IDF Spokesperson

The Israel Defense Forces raided the home Friday of the Palestinian who killed two Israeli soldiers in a car-ramming attack in the West Bank earlier in the day.

Ala Rateb Abed al-Latif Kabha, 27, was driving on the road between the West Bank settlements of Mevo Dotan and Hermesh when he rammed his car into a group of soldiers. Two soldiers were killed and two were injured, one of whom remains in critical condition.

The attacker, Ala Rateb Abd al-Latif Kabha

During the raid, which was carried out at Kabha's home in the Palestinian village of Barta'a, Israeli forces arrested the assailant's 25-year-old brother, Atzam Rateb Abed al-Latif Kabha. 

Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, ordered the immediate revocation of some 100 work permits for Kabha's family members. Kabha was interrogated at the scene of the attack before being taken to a hospital in Hadera with light to moderate injuries.

Last April, the 27-year-old assailant was released from prison after serving 17 months for security offenses.

A relative told Haaretz Friday that Kabha was a house painter. "He came to Jenin to buy paint and was on his way home," the relative said. "He's not politically affiliated or part of any organization. We believe this is an unfortunate accident and not a terrorist attack as they claim."

A member of the Israeli security forces stands next to the destroyed vehicle that was used by a Palestinian assailant in a car-ramming attack, West Bank, March 16, 2018.
JACK GUEZ/AFP

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman condemned the attack as an act of terrorism supported by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Writing on his Twitter account, Lieberman promised that "we will act" for the destruction of Kabha's home and the punishment of anyone who may have helped him.

On Saturday morning, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot visited the scene of the attack with other IDF officers to hold an assessment, and said the IDF was doing everything it could to find the suspect and prevent future attacks.

In a statement, Hamas stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attack but noted that the car ramming happened exactly 100 days after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.