Shin Bet arrests Palestinians who shot at IDF soldier during May clashes

31-year-old from a town near Hebron opened fire with another suspect’s gun, hitting troop’s helmet and radio

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

A bullet hole is seen on the helmet of an IDF soldier, who was shot at while responding to a violent protest near Hebron in the West Bank May 12, 2021. (Shin Bet)
A bullet hole is seen on the helmet of an IDF soldier, who was shot at while responding to a violent protest near Hebron in the West Bank May 12, 2021. (Shin Bet)

The Shin Bet security agency announced on Tuesday that it had arrested two Palestinian suspects over a shooting aimed at Israeli troops during a violent demonstration near the West Bank city of Hebron during May’s flare-up between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

On May 12, 31-year-old Muhammad Jabarin, from the town of Si’ir, opened fire at Israel Defense Forces troops responding to a riot in the area, the Shin Bet said.

A soldier was struck with two bullets. One hit the radio communicator he was carrying, and the other hit his helmet. The soldier lost consciousness as a result of the bullet hitting his helmet, but did not require medical treatment, the agency said.

Jabarin — who previously served 10 months in an Israeli jail over his affiliation with a cell belonging to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group that planned attacks on Israeli targets — was arrested in coordination with the IDF and the Israel Police, the Shin Bet said in a statement.

In the Shin Bet investigation, it was revealed that the gun used in the attack belonged to 30-year-old Muntasir Muhammed Hussein Jabarin, apparently a relative, who lives in the same town.

Muntasir Jabarin was detained, and the M-16 firearm used in the attack was confiscated along with two magazines, according to the statement.

The M-16 rifle used in the May 12, 2021 shooting near Hebron, is pictured after being confiscated. (Shin Bet)

It was not clear when the arrests took place.

“The Shin Bet, the IDF, and the Israel Police will continue to use all means at their disposal to expose and prosecute those involved in terror activities against the State of Israel and its citizens,” the statement read.

The violent clash near Hebron had come during an 11-day war between Israel and the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

Between May 10 and May 21, thousands of rockets were fired by the Palestinian terror group at Israeli cities, and the IDF carried out hundreds of airstrikes on Hamas targets in the coastal enclave in response.

The escalation in violence between Israel and Hamas sparked mass unrest in the West Bank, as well as in mixed Arab-Jewish locales in Israel.

Some 25 West Bank Palestinians were killed in violent clashes with Israeli troops during the war before Israel and Hamas declared a ceasefire. The mass demonstrations had erupted in protest of the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, as well as Israeli policies in Jerusalem.

According to the Israeli military, Palestinians hurled stones and launched fireworks towards soldiers at dozens of sites across the West Bank, putting the soldiers’ lives in danger.

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