In rare move, IDF maps home of at-large terrorist in deadly Huwara shooting

Palestinian media report assailant on the lam is member of Bani Fadl family, from West Bank town of Aqraba

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

The home of an alleged Palestinian terrorist, who killed an Israeli father and son in the West Bank town of Huwara, in the nearby town of Aqraba, August 24, 2023. (Screenshot: X)
The home of an alleged Palestinian terrorist, who killed an Israeli father and son in the West Bank town of Huwara, in the nearby town of Aqraba, August 24, 2023. (Screenshot: X)

The Israeli military early Thursday morning measured the home of a Palestinian accused of carrying out a deadly terror attack in the West Bank town of Huwara over the weekend, in preparation for its demolition.

The alleged terrorist, reported by Palestinian media to be a member of the Bani Fadl family from the town of Aqraba, near Nablus, has not yet been arrested for the attack that left Shay Silas Nigreker, 60, and his son Aviad Nir, 28, dead.

The Israeli defense establishment is aware of the terrorist’s identity, and therefore took the unusual step of preparing his home for demolition despite not having arrested him yet.

Palestinian media outlets published footage showing markings on the interior walls of the home, left there by combat engineering troops.

Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks as a matter of policy. The process usually lasts several months, including court hearings for potential appeals by the families. 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.

The Israeli father and son were shot to death on Saturday afternoon at a carwash in Huwara, a West Bank town that has been the site of a series of violent incidents between Israelis and Palestinians in recent months.

The terrorist approached the carwash on foot and opened fire at the two Israelis from close range with a handgun, according to the IDF’s preliminary investigation. He then fled the scene, apparently also on foot.

The victims, who were not residents of the area, were in Huwara for a number of hours on Saturday before the attack, engaged in various personal errands.

Some goods and services are cheaper in the West Bank than in Israel, drawing customers across the border despite the security risk. The attack occurred as the pair were standing by their car while it was being washed after it was repaired.

An undated photo shows Shay Silas Nigreker, 60 (right) and his 28-year-old son Aviad Nir, who were killed in a terror attack in the West Bank town of Huwara, August 19, 2023. (Courtesy)

Huwara has long been a flashpoint in the West Bank, due to a main thoroughfare running through the town that is used regularly by Israelis to travel to and from settlements. There are plans to build a bypass road for settlers to avoid having to travel through the town, but work on this has dragged on for years.

The IDF generally does not maintain as significant of a presence in Huwara on Saturdays, as the vast majority of settlers in the area are observant Jews and do not drive on the Sabbath. Troops are usually bolstered on Saturday night when Israelis travel to and from the settlements in the area.

Violence has surged across the West Bank over the past year and a half, with a rise in Palestinian shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and troops, near-nightly arrest raids by the military, and an uptick in revenge attacks by extremist Jewish settlers against Palestinians.

In arrest raids early Thursday, the IDF said troops detained 16 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank. In Aqraba, the military said forces only questioned Palestinians.

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