The Israel Defense Forces arrested “several new suspects” overnight Thursday-Friday as part of the ongoing manhunt for Ashraf Na’alowa, the suspected terrorist who shot and killed two Israelis on Sunday and remains on the run.
The morning after the arrest of the suspect in a separate Thursday stabbing incident in the northern West Bank, IDF troops returned to the search for Na’alowa, a 23 year-old, who has been on the run since killing Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi at the factory in the Barkan Industrial Zone where he was employed. A third Israeli, Sara Vaturi, was wounded in the attack.
Within hours of the Thursday stabbing, in which an IDF reservist was moderately hurt and a civilian woman, aged 26, was lightly injured from ricocheting bullets fired at the assailant, the Shin Bet announced it had arrested the 19-year-old Palestinian suspect, a resident of the northern West Bank village of Jamma’in.
After the arrest, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Friday morning that the forces that had been assigned to the search for the stabber would return to the ongoing manhunt for Na’alowa,
“Operations aimed at apprehending the terrorist who carried out the shooting attack in Barkan continue,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement. “Several new suspects have been arrested in the Manasseh Regional Brigade area.”
The IDF’s Manasseh brigade is responsible for the Tulkarem and Jenin regions, including Na’alowa’s home village of Shuweika.
On Thursday, Na’alowa’s sister Fayrouz was arrested at her home in the West Bank city of Nablus in connection with the manhunt for her brother, the Shin Bet said. Fayrouz had previously been questioned by Israeli forces, but was released. Na’alowa’s brother was arrested the day after the attack.
The Shin Bet refused to say on what grounds Fayrouz had been arrested. Na’alowa’s mother and other sisters were also detained and brought in for questioning following the attack, but were later released.
Officials reportedly believe that Na’alowa, who is said to have left a suicide note before the attack, is preparing to engage troops when they close in on him in a firefight that could turn deadly.