Charges filed against Palestinians accused of killing Israeli-American Elan Ganeles

Luai Ma’arouf and Maher Shalloun indicted for murder over February 27 terror shooting attack on Route 90 highway in West Bank

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Elan Ganeles, who was killed in a terror shooting in the West Bank, February 27, 2023. (Courtesy of Consulate General of Israel in New York)
Elan Ganeles, who was killed in a terror shooting in the West Bank, February 27, 2023. (Courtesy of Consulate General of Israel in New York)

Military prosecutors on Monday filed indictments against two Palestinian men accused of carrying out a terror shooting attack near Jericho in the West Bank earlier this year, killing dual American-Israeli citizen Elan Ganeles.

Luai Ma’arouf and Maher Shalloun, residents of the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp near Jericho, were detained by troops on March 1, just days after the deadly highway attack on February 27.

According to the indictment, the pair planned the attack together, purchasing a firearm, ammunition, and a car. The indictment said that, on the night of the attack, they drove along the Route 90 highway looking for Israeli-owned cars.

During the attack, one of the men opened fire at Ganeles’s car on the highway as he drove to a friend’s wedding in Jerusalem, killing him, and then shot at several other cars in the area. The pair then set fire to their car as they fled the area toward Jericho.

The Israel Defense Forces said the indictments against Ma’arouf and Shalloun charged them with intentionally causing death — the military court’s equivalent of murder — and other offenses.

The pair were to be held until the end of legal proceedings.

Israeli security forces at the scene of a shooting attack in the Jordan Valley, near the West Bank city of Jericho, February 27, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

In March, the IDF measured the home of one of the men accused of the attack — the gunman — in the first step before its potential demolition. The home of the driver was also expected to be measured for potential demolition.

Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as a matter of policy. The efficacy of the policy has been hotly debated, even within the Israeli security establishment, while human rights activists denounce the practice as unjust collective punishment.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been elevated for the past year, with the IDF conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank, in the wake of a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks. An intense eruption of violence with Gaza-based terrorists last week diverted attention from the West Bank and also set the region even more on edge.

A fragile ceasefire in place since late Saturday appeared to hold Monday evening, despite concerns that another flareup could be around the corner.

Since the beginning of the year, Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have killed 19 people and left several more seriously hurt. At least 108 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during that span, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

Another 33 Palestinians were killed over five days of fighting with Gaza last week, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza reported, but Israel maintains that 21 of them had been targeted terror operatives, and another four were killed by Gazan rocket misfires. Israel admitted to killing 10 civilians during an initial round of strikes against three top commanders early Tuesday. Two people in Israel were killed as a result of rocket attacks during the fighting.

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