Shin Bet Pours Cold Water on Former Ministers' Claims That Israel Nabbed Teen's Murderers

Netanyahu says he plans to build 300 housing units in the settlement of Dolev, near the site of the attack

Israeli soldiers searching for Rina Shnerb's murderers near Ramallah, August 2019
Majdi Mohammed/אי־פי

Israel's Shin Bet security service released an unusual statement on Monday, distancing itself from reports that the murderers of an Israeli teen have been caught.

Earlier on Monday, former defense minister and Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman took to Twitter to congratulate the Israeli security forces for capturing the "despicable murderers" of Rina Shnerb, who was killed in a terror attack last Friday near a West Bank settlement. The tweet has since been deleted.

Ayelet Shaked, former Justice Minister and head of the joint right-wing slate Yamina, also tweeted that she learned of the murderers' capture while visiting the bereaved family.

>> Read more: Not just Palestinian 'lone wolves': Israeli teen's murder points to organized West Bank cells ■ West Bank violence could erupt before Israeli election, security officials believe | Analysis 

The Shin Bet said in its statement that these reports did not originate from the security service, adding that the investigation is still ongoing.

Several suspects were arrested overnight Monday and over the past several days, but it remains unclear if the investigation is nearing its end. A gag order over the details of the manhunt is still in effect.

Netanyahu vows to build

On Friday, an improvised explosive device was set off in a natural spring near the Palestinian village of Ein Qiniya. Rina Shnerb, who was hiking there with her father and brother, was pronounced dead at the scene of the explosion. The father and brother were evacuated by military helicopter to Hadassah hospital in Ein Kerem with moderate to serious wounds. Hundreds attended Shnerb's funeral in her hometown of Lod.

Rina Shnerb.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked his staff on Monday to prepare plans for 300 new housing units in the settlement of Dolev. "We will strike at the root and smite our enemies," he said. "We will continue to strengthen and develop the settlements." It should be noted, however, that new housing plans generally take years to prepare and win approval.  

Haaretz's Amos Harel wrote a day after the attack, Shnerb's murder points to organized West Bank terror cells, not just so-called 'lone wolves.' Some of these cells, he wrote are associated with terror groups and operating with the avid encouragement of the West Bank division of Hamas headquarters in Gaza.