Palestinians Identify West Bank Shooter as U.S. Citizen as Manhunt Continues

Residents of Turmus Ayya point to Muntassir Shalabi, who one says faced severe economic hardship following gambling losses, as the shooter of three Israeli teens

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Israeli soldiers at the scene of the shooting at Tapuah Junction, on Sunday.
Israeli soldiers at the scene of the shooting at Tapuah Junction, on Sunday. Credit: Moti Milrod

The perpetrator of a drive-by shooting attack on Sunday that left three Israelis wounded is a U.S. citizen, Palestinian reports say. Residents of the West Bank town of Turmus Ayya identified the shooter, who is still on the loose, as Muntassir Shalabi.

One resident told Haaretz that Shalabi recently returned from the United States, where he had lived for several years, and that he was in dire economic straits after rapidly losing money through gambling.

Some of his family members denied his involvement in the shooting, which took place at Tapuah Junction. Three 19-year-old yeshiva students were wounded, one critically, in the attack.

Muntassir Shalabi.

Although Shalabi has not been apprehended, residents said that a number of Shalabi's family members, including those on his wife's side, were arrested in Turmus Ayya and the nearby village of Aqraba, where the car suspected to have been used in the shooting was found on Monday.

On Tuesday, the Israeli army said that it had arrested several Palestinians who are suspected of assisting the perpetrators after they fled the scene, but could not confirm their involvement in attack.

Palestinian news agency Shehab reported that a car suspected of being used in the shooting was located near Nablus, and that Palestinian security forces were on the scene. Following the report, Palestinians arrived and set the car on fire.

The Israeli army has also said to have been on “high alert” amid the recent attacks in the West Bank. Following Sunday’s incident the army decided to reinforce its troops in the region, in addition to an already larger presence due to Ramadan. 

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