Israel arrests Palestinian suspected of shooting officer during home demolition

Authorities say M-16 rifle was found in Thaer Jaradat’s home near Jenin, five months after attack on Border Police

Illustrative. Israeli soldiers defend combat engineers during the demolition of a Palestinian terrorist's home in the West Bank city of Jenin on April 24, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative. Israeli soldiers defend combat engineers during the demolition of a Palestinian terrorist's home in the West Bank city of Jenin on April 24, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli authorities said Monday that a Palestinian man was arrested last week on suspicion of opening fire at forces and wounding an officer during the demolition of an alleged terrorist’s home in April.

The female Border Police officer had been lightly wounded in Jenin during the successful demolition of the home of Ahmed Kunba, who has been charged as an accomplice in the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach near the West Bank settlement of Havat Gilad in January.

Palestinians also hurled explosive devices and stones at the forces after they entered the northern part of the West Bank city with a bulldozer to carry out the demolition, the military said in a statement at the time.

The wounded officer was taken to a hospital for treatment with leg injuries, the statement said.

Rabbi Raziel Shevach (c) with his family, in an undated photo (Courtesy of the family)

Border Police said in a statement Monday that Thaer Jaradat, said to be in his 30s, was arrested in an overnight raid on October 7 in the town of Ya’bad, overlooking Jenin in the northern West Bank.

He is the third suspect arrested in recent months over the incident, the statement added. The first two suspects were arrested on May 7 in Jenin, it said, and are still in custody. Jaradat was described as the “main suspect,” with police saying an M-16 rifle was found in his home.

Border Police said the arrest brought “closure, more than five months after the shooting incident” and that security forces were thus delivering “a clear message to anyone who committed or is planning terrorist activity — you can’t evade us for long.”

Shevach, a father of six, was murdered by Ahmad Nassar Jarrar on January 9 in a drive-by shooting, as he traveled down the highway outside the Havat Gilad illegal outpost where he lived.

Kunba was charged with attempted murder for his alleged role in the attack.

Jarrar, 22, escaped after the attack, but was killed in a shootout with IDF troops outside Jenin less than a month later.

An IDF soldier notifying a relative of terror suspect Ashraf Na’alowa of the military’s intention to demolish his home, October 15, 2018. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

Separately, the IDF said Monday that it had formally notified the family of Ashraf Na’alowa — the terrorist who earlier this month killed two Israelis, Ziv Hajbi and Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, in a shooting attack at the Barkan Industrial Park in the West Bank — that the army intends to demolish his home.

Israel made frequent use of home demolitions until 2005, when the government decided to stop employing the measure. However, in 2014, it was brought back into use. There is a dispute among security analysts and officials over the utility of home demolitions in combating terrorism, with some seeing it as an effective deterrent against terror attacks and others as an ineffective form of collective punishment.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, the military said it arrested 22 terror suspects during overnight raids on Monday.

Tamar Pileggi contributed to this report.

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