The father and brother of a Palestinian terrorist who shot dead two Israelis in the West Bank on Friday were the ones to inform the Israeli authorities of his involvement, in a bid to prevent the family home being demolished.
Hebron resident Shadi Ahmad Matua, aged 28 and married with two children, was arrested by the Israel Defense Forces on Saturday night, and is said by Israel to be a member of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group.
Following an extensive search, security forces located the gun that killed Rabbi Yaakov Litman, 40, and his 18-year-old son Netanel, as well as a car used in the attack near the settlement of Otniel.
The other family members in the car — the mother, a 16-year-old boy and three young girls aged 11, 9 and 5 — were lightly wounded, suffering mostly from bruises and shrapnel injuries.
According to a report from the Hebrew-language Ynet website, Shadi Matua told his brother Majidi that he had carried out the shooting. His brother then told their father and the two decided to turn the shooter in, to avoid a possible razing of their home.
The suspect made comments during his initial investigation that implicate him in the attack, the Shin Bet security service said in a statement.
The practice of demolishing the family homes of terrorists has been criticized by non-governmental groups, but government officials have defended its use as a deterrent against attacks.
Critics claim that, in addition to being a form of collective punishment, house demolitions could motivate family members of terrorists to launch attacks themselves.
Israel razed four homes of terrorists overnight Friday, after the High Court upheld the measure despite an appeal by the families living in the homes.
Authorities say the Litmans’ car was fired on by a car that passed it on the road. After being hit, the car swerved into the opposite lane, where it crashed into rocks by the side of road. Yaakov and Netanel were both hit by the initial gunfire, and Yaakov was fatally wounded. Netanel Litman tried to call rescue services but was then also shot dead by the gunman, who got out of his car to fire more shots into the Litmans’ vehicle.
The Litmans were driving to an event in the town of Meitar to celebrate the upcoming wedding of their eldest daughter.
Father and son were laid to rest Saturday night in Jerusalem.
Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.