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Mother: I called him, I texted him, but he didn't answer

Student, 19, dies of injuries after West Bank drive-by shooting

Victim of Sunday terror attack, Yehuda Guetta of Jerusalem, was among 3 wounded at bus stop; IDF apprehends suspected gunman during raid in village where he was hiding out

Yehuda Guetta, 19, was killed in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank (courtesy)
Yehuda Guetta, 19, was killed in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank (courtesy)

A 19-year-old student who was shot in the head in a drive-by shooting attack at Tapuah Junction in the West Bank earlier this week has died of his injuries, the hospital treating him announced Wednesday night.

Less than an hour later, the Shin Bet security announced that it had apprehended the suspect in the attack.

Yehuda Guetta, a Jerusalem resident, was among three students shot at the bus stop on Sunday in the northern West Bank terror attack.

All three were studying in a religious seminary in the nearby settlement of Itamar. Guetta is survived by his parents, four brothers and two sisters. His funeral was set to take place 11 a.m. Thursday at the Har Hamenuhot cemetery.

“He was a very talented and smart kid. He did everything quickly, seriously and determinedly with lots of love,” Guetta’s mother, Milka, told Army Radio, adding that he had wanted to join elite IDF commando unit Shayetet 13.

She said Yehuda had headed out from home on Sunday early evening when it was still daylight, which reassured her.

“My sister called and said something had happened at Tapuah junction and she knew he was near there,” she said. “I called him, I texted him, but he didn’t answer. Eventually, an emergency room employee answered and told me he was there.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz each offered their condolences in separate statements shortly after Beilinson Hospital announced Guetta’s death. “These are difficult moments for the Guetta family and the entire nation of Israel is with them in their grief,” the premier said.

The two other injured students were Benaya Peretz, 19, from Beit She’an, who was shot in the back and remains in very serious condition, and Amichai Hala from Safed, also 19, who has been released from the hospital to recover from his wounds at home.

Photo from scene of a shooting attack at Tapuah Junction in the West Bank, May 2, 2021 (Samaria Regional Council)

The Shin Bet identified the arrested suspect as 44-year-old Muntasir Shalabi from the central West Bank town of Turmus Ayya. He is not believed to have ties to any terror groups.

Muntasir Shalabi, suspect in the West Bank drive-by shooting on May 1, 2021. (Courtesy)

The arrest took place in a joint operation with the IDF, which raided a building in the nearby village of Silwad where Shalabi was hiding out.

Several other suspected accomplices had earlier been arrested by the IDF in connection with the attack. Early Tuesday, security forces also arrested a number of other people in Aqraba suspected of aiding the gunman.

Israeli soldiers and police at the scene of shooting attack in Tapuah Junction, south of the West Bank city of Nablus, on May 2, 2021 (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

On Monday, forces seized the vehicle believed to have been used in attack, but not before it was set aflame by Palestinian protesters who clashed with the troops at the scene.

The attack came amid heightened tensions in the West Bank after the Palestinian Authority announced it was indefinitely delaying elections planned for later this month, blaming the decision on ostensible Israeli refusal to allow PA voting in East Jerusalem.

The IDF also bolstered its forces in the West Bank for the month of Ramadan, a period that regularly sees an uptick in violence.

Sunday’s shooting was followed by several apparent retaliatory attacks by Israeli settlers, including the storming of a Jaloud village in the predawn hours of Monday morning, where Israelis from the nearby Shiloh settlement threw rocks and stun grenades and started fires.

Medics at the scene of shooting attack in Tapuah Junction, south of the West Bank city of Nablus, on May 2, 2021 (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

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