Israeli forces on Thursday arrested the sister of the Palestinian terrorist who shot dead two Israelis in the West Bank earlier this week, as part of the manhunt for the suspect, the Shin Bet security service said.
For the fourth night in a row, Israeli security forces continued operations in the village of Shuweika, the home of Ashraf Na’alowa. Na’alowa, 23, is suspected of killing his coworkers Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 28, and Ziv Hajbi, 35, and wounding Sara Vaturi, 54, in a terror attack on Sunday morning in the northern West Bank’s Barkan Industrial Park where he was employed.
Following the attack, Na’alowa fled the scene and has eluded capture, according to the Israeli military. The hunt for the suspected terrorist entered its fifth day Thursday.
As part of the manhunt, Na’alowa’s sister Fayrouz was arrested in the predawn hours of Thursday morning from her home in the West Bank city of Nablus, the Shin Bet said.
Fayrouz had previously been questioned by Israeli forces, but was released. Na’alowa’s brother was arrested the day after the attack.
The Shin Bet refused to say on what grounds Fayrouz was arrested.
The IDF said it also arrested two other Palestinians in the West Bank overnight.
Na’alowa’s mother and other sisters were also detained and brought in for questioning following the attack, but were later released.
Officials reportedly believe that Na’alowa, who is said to have left a suicide note before the attack, is preparing to engage troops when they close in on him in a firefight that could turn deadly.
On Monday night, the shooter’s relatives publicly appealed to Na’alowa on Israel Radio to turn himself in to the Israeli authorities.
Also Monday, a Palestinian security official confirmed to The Times of Israel that Palestinian Authority security forces were assisting in the search for Na’alowa.
The military has launched an investigation into the attack to determine, among other things, how the gun was smuggled into the industrial park and whether the terrorist had initially intended to take Levengrond Yehezkel hostage, having forced another Palestinian worker to bind her hands with zip-ties.
Levengrond Yehezkel was a secretary while Hajbi worked in accounting at Alon Group’s factory in the Barkan industrial park. Na’alowa was employed there as an electrician.
The army has said Na’alowa had no history of terrorist activities and was not tied to any terror groups, though several of them applauded his actions.
Levengrond Yehezkel was buried in her hometown of Rosh Ha’ayin in central Israel on Sunday night. She is survived by her husband and a baby. Hajbi, a father of three, was buried in the southern community of Nir Yisrael on Monday. The families of Levengrond Yehezkel and Hajbi both donated their organs.