image Photo: Flash90

Terrorist killer captured

Israeli security forces successfully apprehended the suspect in a drive-by shooting in the Tapuach Junction terror attack in the northern West Bank that killed one person and injured 2 others on Sunday.

Yehuda Guetta, 19, who was critically wounded in the attack, succumbed to his injuries Wednesday.

The Palestinian gunman has been identified as Muntasir Shalabi, a 44-year-old resident of the central West Bank town of Turmus Aya. The suspect was located after an intensive manhunt in the Palestinian Authority town of Silwad northeast of Ramallah and and captured after a gunfight with IDF troops; during which he sustained leg injuries.

Shalabi, who is undergoing interrogation by Israel’s Shin Bet Security Agency, is believed to be a supporter of the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza. He has also reportedly called for the revival of terrorist attacks against Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria.

Even though it appears Shalabi is a wealthy businessman who perpetrated the lone wolf attack, additional suspects were captured earlier in the week for complicity in burning the vehicle he used during the attack.

The car was hit by 10 bullets as he fled the scene.

His son Ahmad, wife Sanaa and another relative were detained earlier this week and released after Shin Bet interrogation.

All 3 of the victims were 19-year-old conscripts with the Hesder Yeshiva program that combines advanced biblical study with IDF military service.

Guetta, who was a resident of the Itamar settlement, was laid to rest in Jerusalem yesterday.

Bnaya Peretz of Beit She’an remains hospitalized in very serious condition, while Amichai Challah of Safad is recuperating at home from “light injuries” after being shot in the back.

“I commend the Shin Bet, the IDF and the police for their swift and determined action that led to the capture of the despicable terrorist,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, underscoring that “Israel’s long arm reaches anyone who harms our citizens.”

Upon news of Guetta’s death, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin extended his condolences to the surviving members of his family. “Oh, the pain and sorrow for the light that has been taken by a miscreant,” he added.

In related developments, a 16-year-old Palestinian teenager was shot and killed during nightly clashes near the Palestinian village of Beita south of the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday, amid riots that erupted during the manhunt for Shalabi.

Palestinians hurled firebombs at IDF troops, who responded with gunfire. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the incident is under investigation.