IDF lifts closure on West Bank hometown of Jerusalem terrorists
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IDF lifts closure on West Bank hometown of Jerusalem terrorists

Army closed off Qabatiya on Wednesday, following deadly shooting, stabbing attack that killed 19-year-old border policewoman

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian man during clashes in Qabatiya, near Jenin in the north of the West Bank, on February 4, 2016 (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)
Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian man during clashes in Qabatiya, near Jenin in the north of the West Bank, on February 4, 2016 (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)

Israel on Saturday evening lifted a closure on a West Bank town that was home to three Palestinians responsible for a deadly stabbing and shooting attack that killed a 19-year-old border policewoman.

“Following an operational assessment, the entrances and exits of Qabatiya will be reopened,” the IDF said in a statement.

The IDF had closed off and set up checkpoints around Qabatiya on Wednesday night, following the attack by Ahmad Zakarna, Muhammad Kamil and Ahmad Abu Al-Roub, who stabbed and shot police officers outside Jerusalem’s Old City, killing Hadar Cohen and seriously injuring another policewoman. Cohen was laid to rest on Thursday.

All three terrorists were killed at the scene by security forces.

Qabatiya, near Jenin, is one of a handful of Palestinian population centers from which terrorists have emerged in the current round of violence, a list that includes the village of Samua near Hebron, and the Shuafat and Qalandiya refugee camps around Jerusalem.

The 3 Palestinians who killed Hadar Cohen in a January 3, 2016 attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, as shown in Palestinian media. Text reads: "Martyr" Ahmad Zakarneh,"Martyr" Muhammad Kmeil, and "Martyr" Ahmad Abu Al-Rub (Palestinian Media Watch)
The three Palestinians who killed Hadar Cohen in a January 3, 2016 attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, as shown in Palestinian media. Text reads: ‘Martyr’ Ahmad Zakarna, ‘Martyr’ Muhammad Kamil and ‘Martyr’ Ahmad Abu Al-Roub (Palestinian Media Watch)

Thousands of the town’s residents attended the funerals Friday of Zakarna, Kamil and Al-Roub, after Israel returned the bodies of the three terrorists to their families earlier in the day.

Military officials told Channel 2 news that the bodies were handed over after the families promised the funerals of the three would not be transformed into rallies of incitement to further violence.

Border Police officer Hadar Cohen, 19, was killed in a terror attack at Damascus Gate outside of Jerusalem's Old City on February 3, 2016. (Israel Police)
Border Police officer Hadar Cohen, 19, was killed in a terror attack at Damascus Gate outside of Jerusalem’s Old City on February 3, 2016. (Israel Police)

Israeli forces staged several raids in Qabatiya on Wednesday night and Thursday, arresting several people and preparing for demolition of the homes of the three terrorists.

Three soldiers were lightly wounded by rock-throwing protesters during operations in the town. Four Palestinians were injured by troops returning fire, including one who was in critical condition after being shot in the head with a live bullet, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency.

A pipe bomb was hurled at IDF troops manning a roadblock on the outskirts of Qabatiya on Friday. There were no injuries reported.

AFP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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