A member of the Fatah organization who receives a regular salary from the Palestinian Authority has been arrested for the murder of Danny Gonen, who was shot from point-blank range near a natural spring in the West Bank on June 19, the Shin Bet security service said Wednesday.
The alleged killer is Muhammad Abu-Shaheen, a 30-year-old resident of the Qalandiya refugee camp, who confessed to six shooting attacks over the course of the past year, including an incident that wounded a soldier in a-Ram and the killing of Gonen, according to the Shin Bet.
Abu-Shaheen was arrested along with four other suspects, all residents of the Qalandiya refugee camp, north of Jerusalem.
The Shin Bet said that members of the cell had conducted reconnaissance around the spring before launching the attack and that, during questioning, Israeli security forces were able to locate the firearm used to kill Gonen.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the security services for their quick apprehension of Abu-Shaheen, and called on the Palestinian Authority to condemn Gonen’s murder.
“On the day of the murder, I said that we would catch the reprehensible and abhorrent murderer and the Shin Bet and IDF did so in a short time,” Netanyahu said.
“Now that it becomes clear that this was a Palestinian Authority man, it will be interesting to see if the Palestinian Authority condemns the murder or continues its silence. Those who do not attack terrorism will, in the end, be attacked by it,” he added.
Pistol used in attack by Palestinian terrorist captured in operations against cell. 4 further terrorists arrested. pic.twitter.com/luvWDqwsa9
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) July 15, 2015
Gonen, an electrical engineering student and the eldest of five siblings, was shot in the upper body on a Friday afternoon as he and a friend drove away from the Ein Bubin spring.
Netanel Hadad, Gonen’s friend who was seated in the passenger seat and wounded in the attack, said the killer flagged down Gonen’s car in the vicinity of the spring, inquired about the water in the spring and then opened fire.
The other four suspects are: Amjad Aduan, 35, a former security prisoner who provided Abu-Shaheen with ammunition and served as a scout for other shooting attacks and accompanied him on other aborted terror attacks; Osama Asa’ad, a former prisoner who was released as part of the second part of the Gilad Shalit deal and is accused of hiding the weapon in his house after the attack; Ashraf Amar, 24, an active duty member of the PA’s military intelligence branch, who has no prior record but allegedly joined Abu-Shaheen on prior potential attacks that did not come to fruition; and Muhammad Aduan, 37, who also allegedly hid the weapon in his home.
There was no mention in the Shin Bet’s announcement of how the case was cracked.
There was no immediate reaction from the Palestinian Authority.