West Bank villages sealed off as hunt for settlement attacker continues
Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stepped up its hunt in the northern West Bank for the terrorists suspected in the death of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, who was gunned down on Tuesday while driving on Route 60 that crosses the West Bank from North to South, near Havat Gilad,.
Following various overnight missions and searches in the "Shomron" regional brigade, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot arrived at the scene of the attack Wednesday morning, stating that "the main focus at the moment is on locating and arresting the terror cell, and preventing additional attacks alongside making preparations for continued operations in the area."
The villages surrounding Nablus were sealed off, and the IDF performed heightened security checks for traffic coming through the West Bank villages.
The rabbi's funeral was scheduled for 1PM Wednesday at the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad, where Shevach lived with his wife and six children along with 50 other families.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman gave orders on Wednesday to consider recognizing Havat Gilad as a legal settlement.
Hamas commended Tuesday's drive-by shooting attack, saying“The West Bank will remain a knife in your body.”
While Hamas did not claim responsibility, it extolled the attack as a "heroic action, that came as a result of Israel’s crimes against our people in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Israeli government bears the consequences of its racist and extremist policies.”
Hamas suggested that the attack was the type of response that Israel and the United States should have anticipated in the wake of Trump's Jerusalem Declaration last month.
“The attack in Nablus is the first practical response to remind the enemy’s leaders and those behind them (the United States) that what you feared is coming,” Hamas' military wing said in a statement, according to Ynet.
At the time of the incident Tuesday, Shevach made a phone call to his wife, saying "call an ambulance, I've been shot," his spouse told Israeli media. Rescue operations found the car on the side of the road, ridden with bullets.
He was taken to Meir Medical center in Kfar Saba, but emergency treatments could not save his life.
i24NEWS spoke with the victim's father-in-law, Raphael Koubi, who mourned the loss to his family and paid tribute to the rabbi who was also a volunteer paramedic in Magen David Adom (MDA) and a mohel (one who performs the circumcision of babies in Jewish tradition).
"This is particularly painful for my daughter, who is the wife of Rabbi Shevach, who was cowardly murdered yesterday. I am particularly sad, of course, as a father-in-law, but especially because the man who left was a very special person," he told i24NEWS.
Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan condemned the attack but also criticized the Israeli government for failing to install security cameras in the area despite the council's repeated pleas.
“At this moment I must say a difficult statement but it is my duty to say it. Raziel was murdered on a road on which, despite repeated promises [by the government], security cameras had not yet been installed. If they had been, these vile murderers would have been caught....I call on the government of Israel to stop holding back the installation of security measures [in the West Bank] due to political concerns," Dagan said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the attack on Tuesday, saying "I am conveying my deepest sorrow and sending condolences to the family of Raziel Shevach, who was murdered tonight by a loathsome terrorist.
"Security forces will do everything within their power to catch the despicable murderer and the State of Israel will bring him to justice," the prime minister added.
Israeli media reported West Bank settlers hurled rocks at Palestinian vehicles in the aftermath of the attack. Four people were reportedly lightly wounded and several cars were damaged.
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snd hamas is supposed to be a governent we can talk too
Death penalty in these cases is a must! Round up All PA leaders & jail them
Dumb donkey humpers. They still think they are getting 72 virgins. They are getting a worn out mohamod whose ass is so dry because they ran out if virgins and he had to step in.