The Palestinian man suspected of carrying out a deadly terror attack on December 13 near the Givat Assaf outpost in the West Bank is Asem Barghouti, the brother of Salih Barghouti, another suspected terrorist, an Israeli defense official said Thursday.
Salih, who was shot dead on December 12 in a village near Ramallah as he attacked Israeli security forces in an attempt to evade arrest, was suspected of having carried out a terror attack near the Ofra settlement three days earlier, on December 9, the Shin Bet security service said.
Seven people were wounded in the drive-by shooting attack on a bus stop outside Ofra, including a 30-weeks pregnant woman who was seriously injured. Her baby was delivered in an emergency operation, but died days later.
Salih’s participation in the Ofra attack was confirmed by the Hamas terror group.
The day after Israeli forces shot and killed Salih Barghouti, two soldiers were killed in the shooting attack near Givat Assaf — Sgt. Yosef Cohen and Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef — and two people were wounded, a soldier and a civilian woman.
The gunman immediately fled the scene of the attack toward Ramallah in a car with Israeli license plates and is still being sought, the Israel Defense Forces’ Judea and Samaria Division commander, Brig. Gen. Eran Niv, said.
Ma’an, a Palestinian news agency, reported on Wednesday that Israel was accusing Asem Barghouti of carrying out the terror attack near Givat Assaf. However, the Palestinian news agency took its story down from its website Wednesday afternoon, after Suheir Barghouti, Asem and Salih’s mother, complained about it at a press conference in Kobar, a village near Ramallah.
“Based on what is Maan publishing a report that Asem killed two people?” Suheir said at the press conference.
Asem was set free from an Israeli prison in April after serving an 11-year sentence.
A number of members of the Barghouti family have a history of involvement in terrorist activities.
Jasser Barghouti, Asem and Salih’s uncle, directed both the Ofra and the Givat Assaf terror attacks, sources in the Palestinian Authority told Ynet, a Hebrew news site, on Monday.
Jasser, a convicted terrorist released as part of the 2011 swap that freed abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, currently resides in the Gaza Strip.
Omar Barghouti, Asem and Salih’s father, and Nael Barghouti, another uncle, were convicted for participating in the killing of an Israeli soldier in 1978. Omar was arrested by Israeli forces on December 12, according to family members.