A relative of a Palestinian terrorist killed by the IDF on Wednesday said that the Palestinian Authority security forces tipped off Israel to his location in the West Bank village of Surif, north of Hebron.
The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas also accused the PA of being aware of the operation in advance, and of cooperating with the IDF, Army Radio reported.
PA official Saeb Erekat condemned the killing of Muhammad al-Fakih, calling it a crime.
Hamas hailed Fakih as a “hero from the Otniel attack.”
Fakih killed Rabbi Miki Mark in a July 1 shooting attack in the West Bank, the army said. Three other members of the terror cell that planned and executed the attack were arrested, it said early Wednesday morning.
The 29-year-old from the West Bank village of Dura had been on the run since the shooting attack. In the interim, his three brothers, sister, cousins and nephew were arrested by the IDF and his mother was brought in for questioning.
Fakih previously served four years in an Israeli prison starting in 2006 for affiliation with the Islamic Jihad terror group. His cousin, Ahmed Ayad al-Fakih, was killed in 2002 while carrying out a terror attack on the Otniel Yeshiva in which four Israelis were killed.
Fakih was killed when clashes broke out between the Israeli troops and the armed cell. The soldiers were conducting a joint IDF, Shin Bet and Israel Police operation to arrest the cell’s four members.
Fakih opened fire at the Israeli troops from inside a house in which he was hiding, and the IDF responded by firing several anti-tank missiles, the IDF said. The IDF then used a bulldozer to knock down most of the building, and when the troops finally entered the destroyed home they found Fakih dead inside.
No Israeli troops were hurt in the operation.
The three arrested for their involvement in the terror attack included Fakih’s brother Sahib. According to the military, all of the detainees belong to the Hamas terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip and has seen growing popularity in the West Bank.
Mark was killed in a drive-by shooting as he traveled on Route 60 with his family, close to the Otniel settlement where they lived. Mark’s wife, Hava, was seriously injured and two of his children were wounded in the shooting attack.
The Mark family on Wednesday thanked the IDF for finding the rabbi’s killer.
An earlier report said the terrorist killed in the operation was a member of Islamic Jihad, a rival terror group to Hamas.
Violent riots broke out between the soldiers and Palestinians trying to prevent the arrests of the suspects in the village.