Palestinian Arrested for December Shooting Attack That Killed Two Israeli Soldiers

Security services say Assam Barghouthi was involved in another deadly drive-by shooting in the West Bank during the same week, and has been planning further attacks

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Israeli forces and medics are seen at the scene of a shooting attack near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank December 13, 2018.
Israeli forces and medics are seen at the scene of a shooting attack near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank December 13, 2018. Credit: AMMAR AWAD/Reuters

A Palestinian man was arrested Monday overnight for a December shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Ofra, where two Israeli soldiers were killed, Shin Bet says.

According to the Israeli security service's statement, Assam Barghouthi, 29, was also involved in a drive-by shooting in the same area, where a pregnant Israeli woman was wounded and her fetus, delivered prematurely immediately following the attack, has died. 

Barghouthi's brother, Salah, who was allegedly behind this attack, was shot dead by Israeli forces during his attempted arrest later the same week. Their 17-year-old brother Mohammed was arrested on Saturday for involvement in attacks targeting Israelis.

File photo: Assam Barghouthi, Palestinian arrested for shooting attacks against Israeli targets in the West Bank.

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The latest arrest was made in the West Bank village of Abu Shukheidim, north of Ramallah, at the home of one of Barghouthi's associates. According to Shin Bet's statement, he has been planning further attacks against Israeli targets.

Shin Bet, border police and army forces found a gun, ammunition and night-vision devices at the house. Border police added in a statement that Barghouthi was arrested following intensive intelligence collection and without shooting.

Barghouthi, originally from the village of Kobar, also north of Ramallah, comes from a Hamas-affiliated family. He had spent 11 years in Israeli prisons over security-related crimes, including planning to abduct soldiers.

20-year-old Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef and 19-year-old Sgt. Yosef Cohen were killed in the December 13 shooting attack, where two others were wounded.

Just hours after the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would legalize thousands of Jewish homes in the West Bank.

After Netanyahu's statement, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit formally approved the so-called "market amendment," which is expected to lead to the legalization of some 2,000 housing units in the West Bank, at the pressure of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.