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Israeli Forces Kill Salfit Attacker after Refusing to Surrender

Israeli Forces Kill Salfit Attacker after Refusing to Surrender

Thursday, 21 March, 2019 - 09:15
A boy looks inside a damaged house where Omar Abu Laila was killed by Israeli forces in the village of Abwein in the Israeli-occupied West Bank (Reuters)
Ramallah - Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat
Israeli forces killed Omar Abu Laila, the young man who on Sunday killed two Israelis and injured a third, during a shootout in the West Bank village of Abwein.

The Shin Bet said it killed the 19-year-old while besieging him in a house after intelligence forces discovered his hideout. Abu Laila refused to surrender and engaged in a shootout with the soldiers.

Investigations revealed that, within a quarter of an hour, Abu Laila carried out three operations beginning with stabbing an Israeli Sargent at Ariel Junction in the northern West Bank village of Salfit, then taking his F-16 rifle and fatally wounding another soldier. He later opened fire at a car of a Rabbi killing him as well.

After that, Abu Laila approached a car, and upon realizing the driver was a tourist, he ordered him to get out and drove the vehicle to Barkin village, where he abandoned it and escaped on foot searching for a hideout.

Immediately, army, intelligence, and police forces surrounded all the villages in the Palestinian area and began a wide-ranging campaign of arrests, including Abu Laila’s father Amin, his 16-year-old brother and a number of acquaintances and relatives.

A group of "Mostaerbin" soldiers, term used for soldiers who are disguised in Arab clothing and are proficient in speaking the Arabic dialect of the area, arrived in Abwein. They combed the field and upon noticing suspicious movement in one of the neighborhoods, they called for back-up.

Dozens of Israeli armored vehicles stormed Abwein and soldiers surrounded the house where Abu Laila had barricaded himself. They used loudspeakers to call on him to surrender. When he refused, the Israeli soldiers opened heavy fire at him, and he responded by firing from an F-16.

The Israeli army then fired a LAW anti-tank weapon, demolishing the house and killing Abu Laila.

Palestinians questioned the army’s claim, saying the young man was caught alive and then killed during the investigation process. However, Israel insisted he was killed during the shootout.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the security forces, saying “Israel’s long arm will reach all those who hurt our citizens and soldiers.”

A few hours later, Israel killed two Palestinians who were in their car east of the West Bank city of Nablus.

Palestinians accused Israel of using the policy of execution.

Abwein Mayor Naji Saif questioned the army's report on Abu Laila's killing, saying after occupation forces left the area, residents checked the house and didn't see any blood stains despite the intensity of the shooting.

Fatah movement saluted Abu Laila and said he was one of its “knights and college students”.

In related news, hundreds of Palestinians attended the funeral of two young men who were killed inside their car in the occupied West Bank. Israeli forces shot at the two and then destroyed their car killing them on the spot.

Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 war and the Palestinians seek a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital. In 2014, Palestinian-Israeli peace talks collapsed.  

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