Netanyahu Vows to Demolish Home of Palestinian Assailant Who Killed Two Soldiers

Following car-ramming attack, Defense Minister Lieberman accuses Abbas of inflaming conflict between Israel and Hamas

Israeli soldiers during a raid on the West Bank village of Barta'a, March 16, 2018.
IDF Spokesperson's Unit

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that Israel will demolish the home of a Palestinian who killed two Israeli soldiers in a West Bank car-ramming attack a day earlier. 

"I'm sending condolences from the bottom of my heart to the families of the IDF officer and of the soldier who were murdered yesterday by a terrorist, and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded," Netanyahu tweeted. "We will act to demolish the home of the terrorist and bring him to justice."

The attacker, Ala Rateb Abd al-Latif Kabha

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also sent his condolences to the slain soldiers’ families and his wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded. He assailed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying he has been trying to “worsen the situation and bring about a conflict between Hamas and Israel.”

“To anyone who saw the Palestinian papers this weekend, including the analyses, the hints and social media, it’s clear that Abu Mazen is going to completely end funding for the Gaza Strip, including payments for electricity, water, health services and salaries,” said the defense minister, referring to Abbas by his nickname.

Lieberman added that Abbas was “exploiting” last week’s attack on Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s convoy in Gaza “to say, ‘with this, I’m ending all efforts at reconciliation’” with Hamas.

President Reuven Rivlin said Saturday that Israel "will not allow terrorism become a reality."

On Friday the Israel Defense Forces raided the home of Ala Rateb Abed al-Latif Kabha, 27, who killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded two others when he rammed his car into the soldiers in the northern West Bank.

During the raid, which was carried out in the Palestinian village of Barta'a, army forces arrested the assailant's 25-year-old brother.

Israel also revoked some 100 work permits for Kabha's family members following the attack. Kabha was interrogated at the scene of the attack before being taken to a hospital in Hadera with light-to-moderate injuries.

The assailant was released from an Israeli prison last April after serving 17 months for security offenses.

An initial investigation of the attack revealed that the four soldiers were not standing in a group. The officer and soldier who were killed were standing next to each other and were hit by the car first. The other two soldiers were standing behind a pillbox barrier when they were struck.

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.