Terrorist who murdered IDF soldiers out of custody

Palestinian terrorist who murdered two IDF soldiers now at large, after having surrendered himself to PA police.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

The Palestinian Arab terrorist responsible for running down and killing two Israeli soldiers in a ramming attack last week is out of custody, several Palestinian Authority officials said Sunday.

On May 29th, IDF Staff Sgt. Eliya Hilel, 20, and Staff Sgt. Diego Shvisha Harsaj, 20, were fatally injured when a car ran them down outside of the entrance to Itamar, an Israeli town near Shechem (Nablus) in Samaria.

The driver, Abed Rauf Shteyeh, 30, from Shechem, surrendered himself to the Palestinian Security Services (PSS), the paramilitary force which serves both as the police force and intelligence agency for the Palestinian Authority.

Hundreds of Israeli residents of Samaria gathered outside Shechem the day after the attack to demand Shteyeh’s extradition to Israel.

On Sunday, however, two PA officials informed the Tazpit Press Service that Shteyeh was not being held by the PSS, and is currently at large.

An aide to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and a PSS official both told TPS that Shteyeh had indeed entered a PA police station to surrender himself.

PSS officers, however, refused to take Shteyeh into custody, saying that they could not take responsibility for his safety, the two officials said.

One Palestinian Authority official cited by TPS said Ramallah is hesitant to take wanted terrorists into custody, fearing reprisals from Israel.

The officers recommended that Shteyeh turn himself in to the IDF, they said.

Undaunted, Shteyeh and his family turned to the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence agency, led by Colonel Majid Faraj, who is charged with security coordination with the IDF.

Unable to reach an agreement with the General Intelligence agency, Shteyeh went into hiding, and remains at large.

Israeli security forces have launched a manhunt for Shteyeh, with a senior IDF official vowing to bring him in dead or alive.

“He was indeed not handed over to Israel and he is behaving as expected,” the officer told TPS. “We will soon put our hands on him either alive in handcuffs or in a coffin.”