IDF prepares to demolish Hebron home of terrorist who killed Israeli man

Off-duty IDF officer recounts rescuing local guard under fire, before shooting attacker Muhammed Kamel al-Jabari dead; condition of seriously wounded medic stabilizes

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

Israeli troops map out the home of Muhammed Kamel al-Jabari in the West Bank city of Hebron ahead of a potential demolition, early October 30, 2022. Al-Jabari killed an Israeli man and wounded four others in an attack hours earlier. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli troops map out the home of Muhammed Kamel al-Jabari in the West Bank city of Hebron ahead of a potential demolition, early October 30, 2022. Al-Jabari killed an Israeli man and wounded four others in an attack hours earlier. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli military early Sunday morning made preparations for the demolition of the home of a Palestinian man who carried out a deadly shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba hours earlier.

Muhammed Kamel al-Jabari, an apparent member of the Hamas terror group, opened fire at a Jewish father and son who had been shopping at a convenience store owned by a Palestinian, between Kiryat Arba and the adjacent city of Hebron on Saturday night. He then left the scene by car and returned on foot several minutes later, and opened fire on medics and settlement security guards who arrived at the scene to help the pair.

Al-Jabari killed the father, who was later named as Ronen Hanania, and wounded four other people, one of them seriously — a medic. A Palestinian man was also among the injured.

In the predawn hours of Sunday morning, Israeli troops measured al-Jabari’s home — the first step before its potential demolition — in Hebron. The Israel Defense Forces said troops also detained al-Jabari’s brother over his suspected involvement in the attack.

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.

Al-Jabari’s other brother Waal had been serving life in an Israeli prison before being freed and deported to the Gaza Strip in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal in 2011. Al-Jabari was a married father of three.

Muhammed Kamel al-Jabari (Courtesy)

A security source told Hebrew-language media that al-Jabari suffered from terminal cancer and had only a few days to live, which may have been among the reasons for the attack.

An off-duty soldier who shot al-Jabari dead on Saturday night recounted rescuing a local security officer who had been hurt by the gunfire.

“I was sitting at home and suddenly I heard shooting outside. I went out as I was loading my gun and reached the nearest guard point, where I met the chief Hebron security officer,” said 2nd Lt. Bet, a Golani Brigade platoon commander, identified only by the initial of his first name in Hebrew.

2nd. Lt. Bet speaks in a video statement published by the military, October 30, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

“I joined him and we drove toward the scene, where we encountered one terrorist who opened fire at us,” Bet said in a video statement published by the IDF.

“I got out of the car and took cover, and then the security officer was hit,” he said. “I returned fire and saw that the security officer was injured while the terrorist continued shooting toward him.

“I ran to rescue him, and continued to shoot suppressive fire in the terrorist’s direction at the same time,” Bet added.

Moments later the security coordinator for Kiryat Arba arrived at the scene and rammed the terrorist with his car into the store. Surveillance camera and dashcam footage showed the off-duty soldier then climbing over the debris and shooting the terrorist dead.

The Palestinian perpetrator of a shooting terror attack near Kiryat Arba in the West Bank is seen in dashcam footage moments before he is rammed by a security officer and shot dead by an off-duty soldier, October 29, 2022. (Screenshot used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The shooting occurred near the entrance of a Hebron settlement neighborhood known as Giv’at HaAvot, located just west of the larger settlement of Kiryat Arba.

Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center said Sunday morning that the condition of the seriously injured man, veteran medic and local activist Ofer Ohana, had stabilized after he underwent two surgeries overnight.

He was still in serious condition, but doctors did not believe his life was in immediate danger.

Hebron resident Ofer Ohana argues with Palestinian protesters wearing blue vests in the West Bank city of Hebron, February 10, 2019. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90, file)

The slain man’s son, 19, and the Hebron security officer, 49, were released from the capital’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center on Sunday morning, the hospital said.

The Magen David Adom emergency service said its medics also treated a Palestinian man from Hebron, 37, who was lightly injured in the attack. He was taken by the Red Crescent to a West Bank hospital.

Israel Defense Forces chief Aviv Kohavi visited the scene of the attack on Sunday morning as part of a preliminary investigation.

He also held a situational assessment with local military commanders.

IDF chief Aviv Kohavi (C) at the scene of a terror attack near Kiryat Arba in the West Bank, October 30, 2022 (Israel Defense Forces)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz have vowed to take strong action against any others found to be involved in the terror attack.

Shortly after the attack, a 27-year-old Israeli was lightly hurt when stones were hurled at his car near the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Amos, medics said. He was taken to Shaare Zedek with a head injury.

Several hours later, the military said shots were fired toward Israeli troops from a passing vehicle near the Palestinian town of Bani Na’im, without causing injuries. The soldiers returned fire at the gunmen, who fled by car.

An Israeli medic cleans blood from an ambulance at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem on October 29, 2022, following an attack in Hebron. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

The shooting came amid heightened tensions in the West Bank.

In recent months, Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.

An anti-terror offensive launched earlier this year and focused on the northern West Bank has netted more than 2,000 arrests in near-nightly raids.

It has also left over 125 Palestinians dead, many of them — but not all — while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.

The IDF’s anti-terror offensive in the West Bank was launched following a series of Palestinian attacks that killed 19 people earlier this year.

Another Israeli was killed in a suspected attack last month, and four soldiers have been killed in the West Bank in attacks and during the arrest operations.

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