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Officials concerned cell could strike again

IDF carries out intensive West Bank searches for attackers in deadly terror shooting

Troops concentrating on villages south of Jenin, according to Palestinian reports, as manhunt continues for gunmen who killed Yehuda Dimentman

Illustrative -- Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Burqa on December 17, 2021 (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)
Illustrative -- Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Burqa on December 17, 2021 (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Israeli troops carried out intensive searches overnight in the area surrounding the West Bank city of Jenin as the manhunt continued to find the gunmen behind a deadly terror shooting, Palestinian media reports said Saturday.

The reports said the searches were concentrated on Kafr Ra’i, southwest of Jenin and a few kilometers from the scene of Thursday’s attack. Other villages in the area were also searched, including Sanur and Jaba.

Yehuda Dimentman was killed and two others were lightly hurt after they were fired on while driving a car as they left Homesh on Thursday night. A military official said the car was ambushed from the side of the road.

The searches came hours after IDF chief Aviv Kohavi on Friday toured the site of the attack and vowed to expand the manhunt until the Palestinian gunmen are found.

“Along with using intelligence capabilities, we will also increase combat forces and will continue to act and expand operational activities as needed,” Kohavi said while visiting the scene.

According to television reports on Friday evening, security officials are concerned the cell could attempt to carry out another attack before it is captured.

Yehuda Dimentman. (Courtesy)

Three additional infantry battalions of troops, along with special forces and intelligence units, were deployed to the West Bank following the attack, as the military, Shin Bet security service and Israel Police scoured the area for the assailants.

According to Palestinian media reports, at least three Palestinians were arrested in initial raids in the village of Burqa, just north of where the attack took place, outside the Homesh outpost.

Dimentman was a student at a yeshiva, or religious school, near where the attack took place. Homesh is a settlement that was meant to have been abandoned as part of a 2005 eviction but is now the site of the illegally operated yeshiva.

The 25-year-old was a father of a nine-month-old son and lived in the West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron.

Hundreds of people took part in the funeral that began at the West Bank outpost of Homesh. Eulogies were made there, and a procession then visited the place of the attack before traveling to Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul cemetery, where Dimentman was interred.

Family and friends attend the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman, in Jerusalem, on December 17, 2021. Dimentman was shot dead in a December 16 terror attack. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Military and police forces heavily secured the event.

In response to the attack, settlers set up a makeshift structure near Kiryat Arba in the southern West Bank, in an attempt to establish a new outpost, naming it after the terror victim.

Hours later, the building was dismantled by police, and a dozen settlers were evacuated from the hilltop near the Route 60 highway. Two were briefly detained amid the evacuation, the Ynet news site reported.

The Palestinian terror groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine praised Thursday’s attack, but did not take responsibility for it.

The vehicle that was fired on in a terror attack near the Homesh outpost in the West Bank, December 16, 2021. (Hillel Maeir/Flash90)

The past few weeks have seen a rise in Palestinian terror attacks, with four taking place in Jerusalem alone, including a deadly shooting committed by a member of Hamas.

There has also been a noted rise in settler violence toward Palestinians.

A group of extremist Israeli settlers assaulted Palestinians and vandalized property in a West Bank village near Nablus Thursday overnight, Palestinian media reported Friday hours after the attack.

Emanuel Fabian and Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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