IDF names Palestinian suspect in deadly terror attack as manhunt persists
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IDF names Palestinian suspect in deadly terror attack as manhunt persists

After fatal shooting of Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi, army prepares Ashraf Na’alowa’s home for demolition, arrests family members; PA police said aiding in search

Israeli troops take part in operations in the northern West Bank village of Shuweika on October 7, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli troops take part in operations in the northern West Bank village of Shuweika on October 7, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli army on Sunday named the Palestinian man suspected of carrying out a deadly terror attack in the northern West Bank as Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa, 23, as troops continued to hunt for him after he shot and killed two Israelis and wounded a third earlier in the day.

Members of Na’alowa’s family and others were arrested by the Israel Defense Forces and interrogated by the Shin Bet security service to determine if they assisted him in the terror attack or in his escape from the scene, the army said.

“IDF troops went to the terrorist’s home in the village of Shuweika in the Menashe regional brigade’s jurisdiction, measured his home [ahead of eventual demolition] and conducted interrogations and arrests of people suspected of assisting the terrorist,” the army said.

The military would not say how many people had been detained.

Israeli troops take part in operations in the northern West Bank village of Shuweika on October 7, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

A source in the Palestinian Authority’s security forces told the Ynet news site PA police were participating in efforts to apprehend Na’alowa.

Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa, a Palestinian man suspected of carrying out a deadly terror attack on October 7, 2018 in the Barkan Industrial Zone in the northern West Bank. (Courtesy)

The source said PA security officials believed Na’alowa would prefer to hand himself over to them, out of fear he may be killed during Israeli attempts to arrest him, or due to a belief that the PA would not hurry to turn him over to Israel.

On Sunday morning, Na’alowa entered the offices of the Alon Group in the Barkan Industrial Park, near the settlement-city of Ariel, armed with a locally produced Carlo-style submachine gun, according to the army.

Israeli security forces stand at the entrance of the Barkan Industrial Zone in the northern West Bank on October 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Inside, he handcuffed Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 28, and fatally shot her from close range. He then shot a second female victim in the stomach, moderately wounding her. The gunman then shot and killed Ziv Hajbi, 35.

The military launched an investigation of the attack to determine, among other things, how the gun was smuggled into the industrial park and whether the terrorist intended to take Levengrond Yehezkel hostage, having used zip-ties to bind her hands.

Levengrond Yehezkel was secretary to the CEO, while Hajbi worked in accounting. Na’alowa was employed at Alon Group as an electrician.

Na’alowa fled the scene of the attack, prompting a large-scale manhunt, in which IDF troops set up road closures and checkpoints throughout the area, including at the entrances to some Palestinian towns in the northern West Bank. IDF special forces, including the Oketz K-9 unit, took part in the searches.

Israeli troops take part in operations in the northern West Bank village of Shuweika on October 7, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

According to the IDF, two additional infantry companies were deployed to the area as reinforcements, along with a battalion-level command company.

Some 14 hours after the lethal attack, Israeli forces had yet to apprehend him.

“IDF and Shin Bet troops will continue to work to catch the terrorist and to preserve the security of the region’s residents, with an increased operational and intelligence effort,” the army said.

Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 28 (left), and Ziv Hajbi, 35, who were killed in a terror shooting in the Barkan industrial zone in the West Bank, October 7, 2018. (screenshots: Facebook)

The Israel Defense Forces earlier on Sunday declared the fatal shooting in the northern West Bank to be a “severe terror attack.”

According to the IDF, Na’alowa had no history of terrorist activities and was not tied to any terror groups, though several of them applauded his actions.

Earlier in the day, he had posted on his Facebook page that he was “waiting for [Allah].” He had also left a suicide letter with a friend three days ago, according to a television report.

Levengrond Yehezkel will be buried in her hometown of Rosh Ha’ayin in central Israel at 10 p.m. on Sunday. She is survived by her husband and a baby.

The funeral for Hajbi, a father of three, will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, in the southern community of Nir Yisrael.

The families of Levengrond Yehezkel and Hajbi both said they would donate their organs.

The businesses in the Barkan Industrial Park, located near Ariel, employ some 8,000 people, approximately half of them Israelis and the other half Palestinians.

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