More troops on the ground, Ya’alon tells IDF after Hebron attack

Defense minister summons security chiefs as manhunt continues for gunmen who shot dead father and teenage son

Israeli security forces stand south of the West Bank city of Hebron, on November 13, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli security forces stand south of the West Bank city of Hebron, on November 13, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon summoned Israel’s senior defense officials Friday evening, shortly after a deadly terror attack in the West Bank killed an Israeli father and son and wounded five other members of the family.

Ya’alon conducted an assessment of the security situation with IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, Shin Bet security service head Yoram Cohen, Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Herzl Levi and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai.

Receiving an update on the search for the terrorists, Ya’alon instructed the military to increase the number of troops active in the area.

The gunmen opened fire at a vehicle in which a family of seven who were traveling near Otniel in the southern West Bank, fatally wounding a father and his son, who managed to telephone emergency services and alert them. He was then hit by more gunfire. The two died at the scene.

The family’s mother and her second son, a 16-year-old boy, were taken to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba for treatment. The three daughters were treated at the same hospital for shock.

A Channel 2 report said security authorities were investigating whether the first ambulance on the scene, from the Palestinian Red Crescent, slowed, saw that the victims were Jews, and sped away without providing medical assistance.

Security forces entered a number of villages in the area, supported by military helicopters, to where the suspected terrorists could have fled, Channel 2 said. The nearby village of Yatta was placed under closure.

The murdered father and the son were seated in the front seats of the vehicle. Initial reports said the family, said to live in the settlement of Kiryat Arba adjoining Hebron, was on its way to relatives in the southern town of Meitar for Shabbat when the attack happened.

— Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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