Security forces nab suspects in August terror bombing that killed Israeli teen
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Security forces nab suspects in August terror bombing that killed Israeli teen

Shin Bet says attack was carried out by three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine from the Ramallah area

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Mourners carry the body of 17-year-old Israeli Rina Shnerb, who was killed by a bomb in a terror attack while visiting a spring near Dolev in the West Bank, during her funeral in the city of Lod on August 23, 2019. (Jack Guez/AFP); inset: Rina Shnerb (Courtesy)
Mourners carry the body of 17-year-old Israeli Rina Shnerb, who was killed by a bomb in a terror attack while visiting a spring near Dolev in the West Bank, during her funeral in the city of Lod on August 23, 2019. (Jack Guez/AFP); inset: Rina Shnerb (Courtesy)

Israeli security forces arrested three Palestinian men suspected of carrying out a deadly terror bombing at a West Bank natural spring that killed a 17-year-old Israeli girl and injured her father and brother last month, the Shin Bet security service said Saturday night.

According to the Shin Bet, the suspects were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group from the Ramallah area.

A fourth man believed to be involved in the terror cell’s activities was also arrested.

Two of the men were arrested days after the terror attack, the other two were picked up by security forces over the past two weeks, a Shin Bet official told The Times of Israel.

The security service said the cell was planning additional attacks when the suspects were arrested, including shooting attacks and kidnappings.

President Reuven Rivlin visits Rabbi Eitan Shnerb, whose daughter Rina was killed in a West Bank terror bombing, and his son Dvir at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem on August 26, 2019. (Mark Neiman/GPO)

During the arrest raids, security forces also found and safely detonated an improvised explosive device that the group had made.

On August 23, an IED that had been planted next to the Bubin natural spring in the central West Bank, near the Dolev settlement, was triggered by terrorists as the Shnerb family from the central Israeli town of Lod visited the site, killing the daughter Rina and seriously injuring her father Eitan and brother Dvir, 19.

Rina Shnerb was pronounced dead at the scene. Her father and brother were taken by military helicopter to a Jerusalem hospital with serious injuries. They have since been released from the hospital.

Police sappers determined that the bomb had been planted earlier at the spring and was triggered remotely when the family approached it.

The Shnerb family issued a statement on Saturday night thanking the security forces for the “immense efforts invested in snagging the murderers.”

The family said it had “full confidence” in the security forces all along and called on the Israeli government to provide “full security for every traveler in every place, to build life where life was taken.”

According to the Shin Bet, the PFLP terror cell was led by Samer Mina Salim Arbid, 44, who has been involved in terrorist activities over the years. During the Second Intifada, he served directly under the head of the PFLP in Ramallah, creating IEDs and planning attacks.

“Arbid led the cell, prepared the IED and set it off the moment he saw the Shnerb family reach the spring,” the Shin Bet said.

Israeli troops operate in the West Bank on August 23, 2019, following a deadly terror bombing near the Dolev settlement. (Israel Defense Forces)

Qassem a-Karim Rajah Shibli, 25, is suspected of manufacturing the explosive material used to make the bomb, helping put it together and setting it off, according to the security service.

Yasan Hasin Hasni Majamas, 25, is believed to have been involved in the planning and execution of the attack, the Shin Bet said.

Both Shibli and Majamas have served time in Israeli prisons for their involvement in terrorist activities, the security service said.

In addition to these three, who are believed to have carried out the attack, the Shin Bet said it had arrested a fourth man — Nizam Sami Yousef Ulad Mahmoud, 21 — who is suspected of being a member of Arbid’s cell.

He is a member of the PFLP’s student group at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank.

The Shin Bet said it was still looking for additional members of the terror cell.

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