IDF soldiers destroyed early Tuesday the Nablus home of a Palestinian terrorist who masterminded the October 1, 2015, shooting attack that killed Eitam and Naama Henkin in front of their children.
“Last night, in accordance with the instructions of the political echelon, our forces, together with Border Police troops and the Civil Administration, destroyed the home of the terrorist who carried out the attack,” an IDF statement said.
Amjad Aliwi was convicted of leading the Hamas cell that carried out the killing and acquiring the firearms used in the attack.
The Henkins were driving with their four young children — the oldest was nine years old at the time — on the road between the northern West Bank settlements of Elon Moreh and Itamar, when they were ambushed by Aliwi’s cell as their car slowed down at an intersection.
Four days later the IDF arrested five members of a cell over the shooting. In June, four of them, including Aliwi, were convicted and sentenced by a military court to two life terms and 30 years in prison each.
Other members of the cell were named as Yahia Muhammad Naif Abdullah Hajj Hamad, who carried out the shooting itself; Samir Zahir Ibrahim Kusah, the driver of the car, who has also been linked to previous terror attacks; gunman Karem Lufti Fatahi Razek, who was wounded by gunfire from one of his fellow cell members during the attack; and Zir Ziad Jamal Amar.
Another man, Ragheb Ahmad Muhammad Aliwi, a previously jailed Hamas fighter from Nablus, allegedly helped Amjad Aliwi recruit the other four, instructed them on how to carry out attacks and provided them with weapons.
According to prosecutors, the cell planned to carry out additional shooting attacks against Israelis. The men allegedly carried out several earlier shooting attacks against Israeli targets.
More than a month before the Henkin killings, Kusah and Hajj Hamad shot at an Israeli car near the settlement of Enav. Hajj Hamad fired 20 rounds at the car but only caused light injuries to the driver, Ronen Edri.
Frustrated by their lack of success, the group decided to kidnap Israelis instead, the indictment said.
On the night of the attack, the group identified the Henkins’ car as a suitable target and began following it, the prosecution said. When they caught up with the vehicle, Hajj Hamad fired dozens of rounds at the Henkins, who were driving with their four children, aged 4 months, 4, 7 and 9, in the backseat. Eitam Henkin was hit and the car came to a halt at the side of the road.
Hajj Hamad and Razek then approached the vehicle with the intention of kidnapping the occupants, but the gravely wounded Eitam tried to fight them off, even attempting to take the gun away from Razek. Alarmed at his show of resistance, Hajja Hamad shot him at short range, killing him, and then turned his gun on Naama. In the confusion that followed Eitam’s attempt to fight back, one of the Hamas assailants accidentally shot another in the hand, forcing them into an urgent withdrawal that may have saved the lives of the children.
The attackers later claimed they had taken pity on the children and decided not to harm them.
In November 2015, security forces destroyed the Nablus residences of Hajj Hamad, Kusah and Razek.
The army released footage Tuesday of the demolition operation.
תיעוד: הריסת ביתו של פעיל בחוליית הטרור שביצעה את הפיגוע בו נרצחו איתם ונעמה הנקין ז"לכוחותינו, בשיתוף לוחמי משמר הגבול והמנהל האזרחי, הרסו הלילה, בהתאם להנחיות הדרג המדיני, את ביתו של המחבל עמג'ד עליוי שבשכם. הריסת בית המחבל בוצעה בעקבות פעילותו בחוליית הטרור שביצעה את פיגוע הירי בכביש המוביל לאלון המורה בו נרצחו בני הזוג נעמה ואיתם הנקין ז"ל ב-1 באוקטובר 2015. עליוי הכווין את חוליית הטרור ורכש את כלי הנשק עבור ביצוע הפיגוע
Posted by צה"ל – צבא ההגנה לישראל on Monday, 10 October 2016
Also Tuesday, IDF engineers laid iron bars across the entrances to a candy store in Jerusalem’s eastern A-Ram neighborhood belonging to the family of the terrorist who killed two people earlier this week in a shooting spree in the capital.
The gunman from East Jerusalem opened fire on passersby and those waiting at a light rail stop near Ammunition Hill in the north of the capital on Sunday morning. Levana Malihi, 60, a retired Knesset employee, and police officer First Sergeant Yosef Kirma, 29, were killed in the attack and six others were injured before the gunman was stopped by Kirma’s elite tactical police unit Yasam.
Meanwhile, IDF troops operating in the northern West Bank Tuesday found a weapons cache, including a homemade machine gun.
Soldiers arrested seven terror suspects throughout the West Bank early Tuesday, including four suspected of “popular terrorism,” the army’s term for low-intensity attacks such as throwing rocks at busy highways, and three Hamas activists.
The killing of the Henkins was seen as the start of a wave of Palestinian terror attacks that have so far killed some three dozen Israelis and four other nationals. Hundreds more have been injured in the spate of attacks, though the violence had dramatically waned of late.
Over 200 Palestinians have also been killed, two-thirds of them while carrying out attacks and the rest in clashes with troops, Israeli officials say.