Three more suspects charged in December’s deadly West Bank terror shooting

Latest indictments join one filed last week against a teenager allegedly involved in killing of Yehuda Dimentman; two are accused of firing the shots

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Israeli security forces inspect the scene of a shooting attack near Homesh, in the West Bank, on December 16, 2021. (Hillel Maeir/Flash9)
Israeli security forces inspect the scene of a shooting attack near Homesh, in the West Bank, on December 16, 2021. (Hillel Maeir/Flash9)

Military prosecutors filed indictments against three Palestinian men accused of carrying out a deadly shooting attack in December in which an Israeli man, Yehuda Dimentman, was killed outside the illegal Homesh outpost in the northern West Bank, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The three men — Muhammad Youssef Jaradat, Mahmoud Ghaleb Jaradat, and Ghaith Ahmed Yassin Jaradat — were each charged with “intentionally causing death,” the equivalent of murder in the military legal system, though only two of them were suspected of carrying out the deadly shooting itself.

Their indictments came a week after a similar indictment against a Palestinian teenager who allegedly drove the getaway car that was used in the attack. As he is a minor, the teenage suspect’s name cannot be published.

According to the Shin Bet security agency, the four suspects carried out the attack on behalf of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.

Ataaf Youssef Muhammad Jaradat, the mother of the minor and one of the adult suspects, was also due to be charged with failing to prevent the attack and assisting them afterward, as her teenage son had told her about the plans in advance and she helped hide the weapons that they used after the attack, the military said. A number of other Palestinians were also charged on Thursday with failing to prevent the attack and being involved in selling the guns used in the attack.

According to the indictment, the three men who carried out the attack had planned the shooting in advance, picking the targets — Israeli settlers — and the location — Homesh — and planning their escape route. Two of them also planned to steal the body of one of their victims to use it as a bargaining chip, the IDF said.

Yehuda Dimentman. (Courtesy)

On December 16, the three suspects arrived at the road outside of the Homesh outpost, where settlers illegally operate a yeshiva, or religious school, and waited several hours for a car to leave the area. This was their second time attempting to carry out the attack, after having waited outside the outpost on December 10 for several hours but eventually giving up when no cars passed by.

When the car carrying Dimentman and two other students from the yeshiva passed by on December 16, two of the suspects took up positions alongside the road armed with guns, while the third ran back to the escape car. As the settlers’ car passed, the two gunmen started shooting, each of them firing 20 bullets before one of their weapons jammed. They then fled the scene in the escape car. Dimentman sustained fatal wounds and the two other passengers were lightly wounded.

The three suspects, along with the minor who acted as a driver, were arrested three days later in the village of Silat al-Harithiya and have been in military custody since.

IDF soldiers operating in the West Bank Palestinian town of Silat al-Harithiya, December 20, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

The weapons they used were found hidden beneath the stairs in the home of the teenage suspect, as they intended to carry out another attack, prosecutors charged.

The families of three suspects — Muhammad Youssef Jaradat, Mahmoud Ghaleb Jaradat, and Ghaith Ahmed Yassin Jaradat — have been notified by the military that their homes will be demolished.

As a punitive policy, Israel demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks. Over the years, however, a number of Israeli defense officials have questioned the efficacy of the practice, and human rights activists have denounced it as unfair collective punishment.

Palestinian officials have previously identified other arrested individuals as Ibrahim Musa Tahaineh, Taher Abu Salah, and Omar Ahmed Yassin Jaradat.

Homesh, where the illegal yeshiva remains in operation, is a former settlement that was emptied as part of a 2005 eviction — the so-called “disengagement.” It has been the site of regular clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians from the next-door village of Burqa.

Dimentman, 25, was a father of a 9-month-old son and lived in the nearby West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron.

Emanuel Fabian and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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