image Photo: Flash90

West Bank gunmen kill Israeli

The terror attack occurred near the Jewish community of Hermesh in the western hills of Samaria.

By Erin Viner

Meir Tamari, 32, was murdered this morning in a hail of bullets fired during a drive-by shooting by assailants who fled the scene of the crime.

The critically wounded father of two toddlers managed to return fire and then drive himself to Hermish on his volition, where he received initial medical treatment before being rushed to hospital by helicopter. Despite extensive efforts, the victim succumbed to his wounds.

Tamari was the 20th Israeli to be killed by terrorists since the start of this year.

The IDF and Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet) launched a manhunt in pursuit of the gunmen.

The Islamist Hamas terror organization in Gaza, committed to Israel’s destruction, hailed the attack as ‘testament to the resistance of the Palestinians.’

Claiming responsibility for the murder, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group – linked to the Palestinian Authority (PA) ruling Fatah faction headed by President Mahmoud Abbas – issued a statement saying, “We affirm that this operation and others will not be the final response to our martyrs.”

“Our forces are currently in pursuit of the terrorists in order to settle accounts with them, and they will be settled forthwith,” declared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a message offering “heartfelt condolences” to the Tamari family, stressing, “Just as we have found every terrorist and closed accounts with them, we will do so this time as well.”

Earlier today, the IDF mapped the homes of two Palestinians involved in the murders of Israelis for demolition. One of the terrorists carried out the shooting attack on 7 April that killed British-Israeli mother Lucy Dee and her two daughters Maya and Rina at the Hamra Junction in the Jordan Valley. The other masterminded the gunning down of IDF Staff Sergeant Ido Baruch on 10 October 2022; the three assailants who carried out the killing were eliminated last February in a Nablus counter-terror raid by Israeli special forces.

Just after midnight last night, a shooting was carried out toward IDF soldiers operating in route defense activity on route 60 adjacent to the community of Kiryat Arba. IDF soldiers responded with live fire toward the source of the shooting, said the army, adding that a manhunt was underway for the terrorists. No injuries were reported, but damage was caused to an IDF ambulance.

In other overnight developments, IDF, ISA and Border Police forces conducted counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria.

Two Palestinians wanted for terrorist activity were captured in a joint operation in the Nur Shams camp, where several buildings were searched, and additional suspects were questioned.

A riot ensued during the operation, during which terrorist gunmen opened heavy fire and hurled firebombs at the Israeli security forces, who responded with live fire. Troops had to exercise crowd dispersal means and remove obstructions to permit their safe exit from the camp.

One IDF soldier was moderately injured by shrapnel from an explosive device and evacuated to a hospital to receive medical treatment.

Three additional wanted suspects were apprehended in separate missions in the towns of Silwad and Abu Dis and transferred to security forces for further questioning.

Yesterday, a Palestinian security officer was shot and killed during clashes in the West Bank flashpoint city of Jenin after IDF troops came under massive fire during an arrest mission. Fatah identified the assailant as Ashraf Sheikh Ibrahim, saying he had died “as he confronted the aggression and the occupation’s storming of the city of Jenin.” The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed Ibrahim as a member.

And while the PA seems to have little sway over its men in the northern Samaria region, where the Iranian-proxy Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas terror groups have managed to gain ground in recent years, Ramallah’s statement paradoxically comes in conjunction with ongoing close security cooperation with Jerusalem to ensure that its rivals will not gain additional ground beyond the seemingly lawless regions.

Over the past weekend there was an apparent uptick in reported fire by Palestinian gunmen toward the Israeli forces, coinciding with a clear rise in rhetoric by internationally designated Palestinian terror groups over their declared intention to fight the Jewish State over Jerusalem.

“Today’s message to all parties, whether the occupation or Arab parties, the cause of Jerusalem must be the first and the central cause we can entrench ourselves behind and fight this enemy and this fascist government, which is currently targeting the Al-Aqsa Mosque and in an escalating manner,”  Hamas Senior Political Leader Zakaria Abu Ma’amar called out during a rally in Gaza City, adding, “A short while ago, we have seen the Talmudic prayers and attempts to impose the division in time and place, this is playing with fire. Our people will not allow this policy to pass because our defense of the Al-Aqsa cause is defending the dearest we have and our prime cause.”