Israeli security forces seized machinery used to make home-made guns in the West Bank on Thursday night, in a crackdown following a lethal terror attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, the army said.
The Israel Defense Forces and Border Police, along with representatives from the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration, located the two drill presses, which are suspected of being used to create illegal guns. One of the machines was found in Eizariya and the other in Abu Dis — two Arab towns near Jerusalem.
The shooting in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market this week was carried out with two homemade guns, known by law enforcement as “Carlos,” after the Swedish Carl Gustav submachine gun, on which the design is loosely based.
In addition to the gun-making equipment, Israeli forces discovered bullets and components of explosive devices at the two sites, the army said in a statement.
The production of these Carlos has proven extremely difficult for Israel and other nations around the world to stop, as their brutally simple design makes them easy to produce and in some ways more lethal than a proper rifle in a terror attack.
The guns can be created out of water pipes and other easily accessible materials; they are wildly inaccurate and are often fully automatic, meaning the gun fires round after round until the shooter lifts his or her finger off the trigger or runs out of bullets.
For precision strikes these guns are nearly worthless, but for mayhem there are few better options, especially considering their low cost.
The IDF also made more than a dozen arrests in Arab villages in the West Bank and Jordan Valley, including several in the hometown of the two terrorists who carried out the shooting in Tel Aviv.
After measuring and preparing the home of one of the gunmen for demolition on Wednesday night, the IDF and Defense Ministry mapped the house of the second terrorist on Thursday night, the army said.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman reportedly asked Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit if it would be possible to expedite the legal process for destroying attackers’ homes, during a security cabinet meeting following the terror attack.
“We should be leveling [their] homes within 24 hours. Why is that not happening?” Liberman asked Mandelblit, who responded that Israel was governed by the rule of law and that due process took longer than that.
On Friday, the army maintained its closure of Yatta, the Palestinian village in the foothills south of Hebron where the two gunmen lived. The army first closed off the village in the hours following the attack, as it has in the aftermath of other terror attacks over the past year.
No one is allowed in or out of the area, except for “humanitarian cases,” the army said.
In light of the upcoming Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the IDF announced it would also place a general closure on the West Bank, not allowing Palestinians to enter or exit the territories beginning one minute after midnight on Friday. The West Bank is expected to reopen on Sunday night, following the holiday, but the decision will be subject to a “situational assessment,” the army said.
The Defense Ministry also canceled 83,000 travel permits given to Palestinians specifically for Ramadan to visit family members in Israel during the holiday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday in a press conference at the site of the attack.
Four people were killed and 16 more injured when the two Palestinian terrorists opened fire inside a restaurant in the Sarona Market shopping complex in central Tel Aviv. The two gunmen were caught shortly after the attack.
On Thursday morning, the police revealed the names of the deceased victims: Ido Ben Ari, Ilana Naveh, Michael Feige and Mila Misheiv.
Sixteen others were injured, three of whom were still in intensive care Thursday morning at nearby Ichilov Hospital, along with one of the attackers who was shot by a security guard, according to a hospital spokesperson.