IDF arrests 2 more Palestinians for allegedly aiding suspects in Elad terror attack

Troops operate overnight in towns near Jenin, although not in West Bank city itself after death of journalist; 7 other terror suspects detained

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

Israeli soldiers operate in the West Bank town of Rummanah, May 9, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli soldiers operate in the West Bank town of Rummanah, May 9, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Security forces arrested two more Palestinians for allegedly aiding the two suspects accused of a deadly terror attack in the central city of Elad last week, the military said Thursday.

The Israel Defense Forces said troops arrested the two in predawn raids in the West Bank towns of Rummanah and Burqin, near Jenin.

The two Palestinians accused of hacking three Israelis to death with an axe in Elad last Thursday were residents of Rummanah. They were arrested on Sunday after a 60-hour manhunt.

The two arrests on Thursday mean four Palestinians have now been detained on suspicion of assisting As’ad Yousef As’ad al-Rifa’i, 19, and Subhi Emad Sbeihat, 20.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, troops detained seven others over suspected involvement in terror activities, the IDF said. A makeshift submachine gun was also seized.

Troops did not operate in Jenin itself overnight or Thursday morning, following the death of a journalist amid a gun battle between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen a day earlier.

Subhi Emad Subhi Abu Shqeir, left, and As’ad Yousef As’ad al-Rifa’i, from a West Bank town near Jenin, the alleged Palestinian perpetrators of the Elad terror attack on May 5, 2022 in which three Israelis were killed and several seriously wounded. (Israel Police)

Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, was shot in the head amid clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen while covering an Israeli army operation in the West Bank city on Wednesday morning. Palestinians have blamed Israel for her death, while Israeli officials said Palestinian gunmen may have fired the fatal shot. The Israeli military said it was still investigating the circumstances.

Tensions have risen sharply between Israel and the Palestinians in recent months, against a backdrop of terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank, some of them carried out by terrorists from the Jenin area, that have left 19 dead since March 22.

Related: Expert says journalist’s death will fuel revenge attacks, no matter the explanation

The Israeli army stepped up its West Bank activities in an attempt to crack down on the spiraling violence. According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, 31 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since late March. Some committed violent terror attacks, others participated in clashes with soldiers, while some appeared to have been unarmed bystanders.

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