Israeli security forces sweeping through the Jenin area arrested over two dozen terror suspects over the weekend.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Security officials believe that the terrorist who killed three and wounded eleven in last Thursday’s terror attack in Tel Aviv was planning another murder spree on Friday, the first night of Passover.
Ra’ad Hazem was planning to lay low for a week, probably in or near the Jaffa mosque to which he fled after shooting his victims on Dizengoff Street, according to the officials.
The assumption is based in part on the fact that he had not emptied his gun clips during the attack.
Fortunately, an intelligence tip led two Shabak officers to the area of the mosque at 5:30 a.m. on Friday, where they saw the suspect and called for him to halt. Hazem raised his arms as if to surrender, but then he drew his gun and managed to fire off 10 shots.
The officers returned the fire, killing him, while sustaining no injuries themselves.
A senior police official told Ynet that the manhunt that began immediately after the attack, consisting of more than 1,000 officers from various security bodies, prevented the terrorist from leaving the central region.
Had Hazem managed to carry out his plan, it would have reminded Israelis of the infamous 2002 Park Hotel massacre in Netanya.
A suicide bomber entered the dining room as the guests were beginning their Passover Seder and blew himself up, killing 30 and injuring 140 in the deadliest attack of the Second Intifada.
IDF forces, including several elite units, conducted a counterterrorism operation in Jenin early Sunday morning, where they arrested dozens of suspects.
No Israelis were hurt in either operation.