World Jewish News
Photo by Marc Israel Sellem, Jerusalem Post
Two Murdered in West Bank Terror Attack Identified as IDF Soldiers
The IDF searched Thursday night for the Palestinian who killed two soldiers at a bus stop near Route 60 as a surge of unrest gripped the West Bank amid rising fears of a new wave of terror attacks against Israelis.
A diplomatic source said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a clear message to Hamas that Israel will take action against it if it deploys terror in the West Bank.
Referring to assessments that Hamas has decided to move the focus of its efforts to attack in and from the West Bank since a degree of quiet has now come to the Gaza border, “There will be no ceasefire in Gaza and the use of terror in Judea and Samaria,” the source said.
Staff Sgt. Yuval Mor Yosef, 20, of Ashkelon and Sgt. Yosef Cohen, 19, of Beit Shemesh were killed Thursday morning when a Palestinian gunman got out of his car and mowed them down as they stood at a bus stop at the T-Junction outside the outpost of Givat Assaf in the Binyamin region.
Just hours earlier, two police officers were stabbed in an early morning terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City, according to the Police Spokesperson’s Unit. The police killed the assailant.
But it was the Givat Assaf attack that struck a more emotional note. It came after the late night funeral of a three-day-old baby boy born prematurely as the result of a drive-by shooting at a bus stop outside of the Ofra settlement, which injured seven, including the baby’s parents.
On Thursday, clashes broke out between IDF soldiers and Palestinians in several West Bank locations. Settlers and right-wing activists took to the streets, demanding better security and in some cases shouting for the prime minister – who now also holds the position of defense minister – to go home.
They held demonstrations along the roads in Judea and Samaria and also outside of Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence.
According to the Left-wing NGO Yesh Din, Israeli extremists attacked Palestinians in multiple locations across the West Bank on Thursday, vandalizing homes in Burin, Jit, Asira al Kibliya, Huwara and Beitilu.
They threw stones throwing at Palestinian vehicles at intersections blocked by the army, including by Yitzhar and Kedumim.
11 people have been killed in 2018 in seven deadly terror attacks in the West Bank, including the shooting attack that occurred Thursday.
Netanyahu responded by promising to improve security in the West Bank and tell Palestinians that Israel could not be destroyed by such attacks.
“If they think they will uproot us from our home, they will not succeed,” Netanyahu said.
In the aftermath of the attack, Palestinians and soldiers clashed on the outskirts of. US Ambassador David M. Friedman tweeted: “The Palestinian Authority maintains laws that will compensate these terrorists and their families for their heinous acts. The PA can be a political body OR a sponsor of terror, not both.”
The Palestinian Authority blamed Israel for the West Bank arrest and promised to hold a day of rage on Friday.
For hours, medical personnel, security official and firefighters worked to clean up all evidence of the attack from the bus stop and hitchhiking post on the small road that leads from Route 60 to Ramallah and Beit El.
IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis told reporters that “a car stopped at a hitchhiking spot and at least one suspect got out and fired shots toward both civilians and soldiers,” adding that the suspect got back into the car before it fled the scene.
Moments before the soldiers were attacked, they stopped for coffee and tea by Raz Chen’s small wagon coffee shop, which he had set up just the week before outside the Givat Assaf outpost.
“They had coffee and tea. They ordered Borekes and Malaweh. A few moments after they drank and ate, we heard shots,” said Chen, as he stood in the truck behind his counter, cutting up food for customers.
“We went out to the road. When we understood it was an attempt, we went to help,” he said. “But to our sorrow, they were already dead.”
His truck is located in the parking lot, just below the Givat Assaf outpost, a small hilltop community of caravans that was built in 2001. If was named after Ofra resident Assaf Hershkovitz, who was killed there by a Palestinian gunmen.
Settlers believe that their presence at the junction is critical to ensure security on Route 60.
By ANNA AHRONHEIM, TOVAH LAZAROFF