(February 7, 2018 / JNS) Israeli Defense Forces came under fire Tuesday night in the Arab-controlled city of Nablus, while hunting for Abed al-Karim Adel Assi, suspected of stabbing Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal to death on Monday in Ariel.
“During the activity a violent riot was instigated as approximately 500 Palestinians hurled rocks, firebombs and explosive devices and fired live rounds at IDF (soldiers, and in addition the rioters built rock barriers,” according to an IDF statement.
“Soldiers responded with riot dispersal means and fired warning shots into the air,” the IDF said.
Palestinians report as many as 50 rioters were injured, and one Arab were killed in the clashes. The IDF has yet to confirm the injuries.
According to the military, Assi remains on the run.
Reports Tuesday revealed Assi scouted out the scene of his attack the day before, and was flagged as suspicious by IDF soldiers guarding a nearby bus stop.
Assi was questioned by troops after he approached Israeli civilians and swore at the soldiers in Arabic, saying “I’ll remember your faces, you whores”, according to an eyewitness.
However, when the soldiers ascertained that Assi had Israeli citizenship, they sent him on his way.
Assi, 19, is the son of an Israeli mother and a Palestinian Authority man from Shechem. After becoming addicted to drugs and living on the street, he spent three months at a shelter for homeless youth in Tel Aviv.
His mother, a resident of Haifa, called on Assi to turn himself in. “My son has no right to hurt anyone,” she said. “I condemn what he did, and I call on him to turn himself in, because what he did will not help anyone. On the contrary, he ruined himself and he ruined everything.”