Israeli security forces track down and arrest killer of teen who had been on the run since shooting three Israeli teenagers, one of whom succumbed to his injuries.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
Israeli security forces arrested the Palestinian terrorist suspected of shooting three Israeli teenagers, Israel Army Radio reported Thursday.
Following a three-day manhunt, soldiers tracked down Muntasir Shalabi, 44, a resident of the Palestinian town of Turmus Aya, who was wounded in the attack. IDF soldiers fired back at Shalabi as he sped away in a car after shooting three Israeli teenagers at a bus stop north of Jerusalem, one of whom subsequently died of his wounds.
The Shin Bet General Security Service set up a special headquarters to conduct the manhunt for the terrorist and gather intelligence, receiving information that the terrorist was wounded, on the run and was being assisted by family members, as opposed to a specific terror group, the Army Radio report said.
During the manhunt, 12 suspects were arrested on suspicion they helped Shalabi escape and hide. On Wednesday, troops surrounded a building in the village of Akraba, but it turned out that the terrorist fled at the last minute.
Towards nightfall, the Shin Bet was able to obtain accurate information about Shalabi’s hiding place in the village of Silwad, east of Ramallah. The terrorist was reportedly surprised to be found and surrendered without resistance.
Shalabi was taken to a hospital for treatment after apparently being hit in the waist by gunfire from IDF soldiers manning a checkpoint by the bus stop. He will be returned to the Shin Bet for interrogation to determine who helped him escape capture over the past few days.
Security officials made it clear that anyone who assisted the terrorist would be arrested.
On Sunday, Shalabi drove by an IDF checkpoint at the Tapuach Junction north of Jerusalem and opened fire, hitting three Israeli students at the bus stop there. Yehuda Guetta, 19, who was critically wounded by one of the bullets, died Thursday morning after doctors had struggled to save him.
Two of Guetta’s friends, Bnaya Peretz and Amichai Challah, both also 19, were hit. Challah was only lightly wounded, but Peretz remains hospitalized in critical condition.
Immediately after the attack, the Fatah organization headed by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas posted messages on social media calling on Palestinians in the area of the attack to destroy security camera recordings that could be seized by investigators hunting for the terrorist.
Under Palestinian Authority policy, Shalabi and his family are now expected to receive a monthly cash stipend from the PA as compensation for getting arrested for attacking and killing an Israeli civilian.