PA forces helping Israel locate Barkan shooter, Palestinian official says
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PA forces helping Israel locate Barkan shooter, Palestinian official says

Official says Ramallah ‘does not support violent acts and wants to maintain security and stability’

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Illustrative: Palestinian security forces patrol in the West Bank city of Nablus on August 19, 2016, amid clashes. (AFP Photo/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
Illustrative: Palestinian security forces patrol in the West Bank city of Nablus on August 19, 2016, amid clashes. (AFP Photo/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

Palestinian Authority security forces have been helping Israel in its search for the suspect in a deadly terror attack on Sunday, a Palestinian security official confirmed.

The military has been searching for Ashraf Na’alowa, 23, who is suspected of shooting dead his coworkers Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 28, and Ziv Hajbi, 35, in the Barkan Industrial Park in the northern West Bank on Sunday, and wounding Sara Vaturi, 54.

After carrying out the shooting, Na’alowa fled the scene, an IDF spokesperson said. 

As of Monday evening, he remained at large, the spokesperson said. 

Israeli troops take part in operations in the northern West Bank village of Shuweika on October 7, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

“We are helping the Israeli side locate him,” a Palestinian security official told The Times of Israel, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “The main way we are helping is in providing them with information.”

The Ynet news site had reported on Sunday that PA security forces were participating in efforts to find Na’alowa.

Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa, a Palestinian man suspected of carrying out a deadly terror attack on October 7, 2018 in the Barkan Industrial Zone in the northern West Bank. (Courtesy)

The Palestinian security official said the PA has been helping Israel search for Na’alowa because it “does not support violent acts and wants to maintain security and stability” in the West Bank. 

Four other Palestinian security officials declined to comment. 

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the branch of the Defense Ministry responsible for liaising with the Palestinians, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Palestinian officials frequently refrain from speaking publicly about security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians. 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on September15, 2018. (AFP / ABBAS MOMANI)

However, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a group of Israeli peace activists in a meeting in September that Israeli and PA forces work together “on a daily basis” and he and his people “do anything possible so that no Israeli gets hurt,” according to Peace Now, whose executive director attended the meeting with the Palestinian leader.

The PA has been heavily criticized by Palestinians for cooperating with Israel on security. 

In the past year, Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh and several other Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials have lashed out at Abbas and the PA for cooperating with Israel on security.

“I call for the halt of security coordination and cooperation with Israel,” Haniyeh said at a funeral in Gaza in October 2017. “It is not acceptable for any Palestinian, wherever he is or whatever he is in, to coordinate or cooperate with the enemy.”

Polls have shown that a majority of Palestinians support an end to security cooperation between the PA and Israel.

Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 29 (left), and Ziv Hajbi, 35, who were killed in a terror shooting in the Barkan industrial zone in the West Bank, October 7, 2018 (screenshots: Facebook)

Sixty-eight percent of Palestinians said they support the Palestinian Central Council’s decision to end security coordination with Israel, a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in September found.

In January, the Palestinian Central Council, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s second highest decision-making body, renewed a decision it made in 2015 to end security coordination with Israel. 

The Palestinians have not implemented the 2015 or 2018 decision to end security cooperation with Israel.

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