Israel arrests 4 suspects in Ofra terror attack; fifth is killed trying to flee
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Israel arrests 4 suspects in Ofra terror attack; fifth is killed trying to flee

Shin Bet says Salih Barghouti was shot while attempting to escape and harm Israeli troops; arrests come shortly after baby victim of attack is buried

An Israeli border guard stands during clashes with Palestinian protesters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 11, 2018.  (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)
An Israeli border guard stands during clashes with Palestinian protesters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 11, 2018. (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)

Israeli security forces apprehended four Palestinians Wednesday suspected of conducting a shooting attack this week outside the West Bank settlement of Ofra, and a fifth was killed in a shootout, the Shin Bet security service said.

The suspect who was killed, 29-year-old Salih Barghouti from the village of Kobar, attempted to injure troops while trying to escape arrest and was shot dead, according to the Shin Bet.

According to Palestinian reports, Barghouti was shot when troops opened fire on a car he was traveling in on a road in the town of Surda, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah, where soldiers have been carrying out intensive searches over the past several days.

The Shin Bet said four other suspects were arrested in the raids, which involved members of the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Police’s elite Yamam unit, which conducts both counter-terrorism operations and functions as a SWAT team.

The suspects will be interrogated by Shin Bet officers, the security service said.

Seven people were wounded in the drive-by terror attack on a bus stop outside of Ofra Sunday night, including a 30-weeks pregnant woman who was seriously injured. The baby was delivered in an emergency operation, but died earlier Wednesday.

The announcement of the arrests came shortly after the funeral for the newborn, and after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed the army would catch the shooters.

Relatives of Amichai and Shira Ish-Ran attend the funeral of their baby, who died after being delivered prematurely due to Shira being wounded in a drive-by terrorist attack, at the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives in front of the Jerusalem’s Old City on December 12, 2018. The baby’s mother, Shira, was one of seven people wounded in the drive-by shooting at a bus stop near the Ofra settlement in the West Bank on December 9. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)

According to Palestinian reports, troops raided a home in Kobar belonging to Barghouti’s family, as well as a building in Ramallah.

Pictures shared on social media appeared to show an IDF vehicle towing a white car that appeared to match a car seen on security video carrying out the shooting attack.

Barghouti worked for the Rafideen taxi company, an employee at the company told The Times of Israel. The company is based in Ramallah.

He had worked the past three days, according to the employee, who asked to remain unnamed.

In security video showing the terror attack, a white car can be seen opening fire as it passes by the bus stop. A taxi traveling alongside the white car was thought to have been involved as well.

Amichai (left) and Shira Ish-Ran, wounded in a December 9, 2018, terrorist attack outside Ofra in the West Bank, are seen at their wedding (Courtesy of the family)

Following the announcement of the baby’s death, Netanyahu vowed Israel would find the “despicable murderers” behind the shooting.

“We won’t let up until we find them and bring them to justice,” he said at an event for foreign reporters.

Adam Rasgon and Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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