Hundreds Attend Funeral of Israeli Killed in West Bank Attack as Manhunt Continues

The Israeli army said it detained several Palestinians connected to the killing of 25-year-old Yehuda Dimentman. Settlers erect a new outpost in the victim's honor

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Hagar Shezaf
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Yehuda Dimentman's funeral on Friday
Yehuda Dimentman's funeral on FridayCredit: Moti Milord
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

Hundreds attended the Friday funeral of a 25-year-old yeshiva student who was shot dead in a Palestinian ambush in the West Bank the night before, as the settler movement established a new outpost and Palestinians were attacked overnight.

Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a vehicle near the evacuated settlement of Homesh, killing Yehuda Dimentman and wounding two other students. The Israeli military has since taken several suspects into custody overnight in a ramped-up manhunt in the northern West Bank.

Israel's military chief Aviv Kochavi and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar visited the scene of the attack on Friday, as the search for the suspected shooters continues. "We will continue to act and expand our operations as much as needed," Kochavi said. "We will not stop until we capture the terrorists."

Following the attack, hundreds of people came in armored buses to participate in the funeral of Dimentman, with many from the congregation calling for revenge and the reestablishment of Homesh, which was evacuated in 2005. Among the attendees were lawmakers from various right-wing parties, including Itamar Ben-Gvir, Nir Barkat, Orit Strock, Simcha Rothman, with a procession currently heading toward Jerusalem.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi (left), Shin Bet director Ronen Bar (right) and senior military commanders at the scene of the shooting attack near Homesh, on Friday.Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

On Thursday overnight, a Palestinian couple were evacuated to hospital after they were attacked in their home in the northern West Bank village of Qaryut by settlers who knocked on their door at 4 A.M. and claimed to be soldiers.

Police said they received reports of several suspects throwing stones at the Palestinian home, and that they will investigate the incident.

In the town of Burka near Homesh on Friday morning, a resident reported stones were thrown at six houses and a barn was set ablaze. The army is stationed at the entrance to the town, and clashes have erupted between Palestinians and soldiers.

Meanwhile, in the early hours of Friday, the new outpost Nofei Yehuda, named after the murder victim, was erected near Kiryat Arba. The outpost is sponsored by the Nahala movement, which erected the Eviatar outpost. In addition, calls have gone out for people to come to Homesh over Shabbat.

Yehuda Dimentman

At the funeral, Rabbi Elishema was first to eulogize Dimentman: "I grieve over you, my son, Yehuda, our son Yehuda, our soldier without uniform. A soldier of Torah, of devotion to the land of Israel."

Criticizing security forces, Elishema also added: "If we have security issues on the roads it's because we have no clarity about the land, and if the army fails to secure the roads to Homesh it's because it's not clear to them that we should be here.

Addressing the congregation, Likud MK Nir Barakat vowed an "iron fist against the Arab terrorists" and added that "our goal is to bring two million Jews here. We will settle everywhere in the Land of Israel."

Meanwhile, the head of the Shomron Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, asked to legalize the Homesh Yeshiva as a "proud and Zionist response" to the killing. 

Following the intensified manhunt, which has drawn several top units, the IDF spokesperson said that the army had detained suspects, but it is unclear if they were directly related to the incident. 

The spokesperson described the attack as "inherently different" from other attacks in recent weeks saying: "I wouldn't call it a terror wave since there is no ongoing link between the events. This incident is different because of the use of a firearm."

Homesh, near where Thursday's attack took place, had its residents evicted as part of Israel's 2005 disengagement plan, and Israelis are banned from staying within its bounds. However, settlers frequent the spot and operate the Homesh Yeshiva, which in practice serves as an outpost, with yeshiva students moving between it and the nearest settlement, Shavei Shomron. Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Regional Council, has regularly voiced support for the yeshiva, and on Thursday, after the attack, he called for legalizing it.

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