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IDF kills Palestinian terrorist who shot dead Yaniv brothers near Huwara

The military reported that soldiers were conducting a counter-terrorism operation in Jenin, a hotbed of Arab terrorism in northern Samaria.

Soldiers secure the scene of a deadly shooting in Huwara, near Nablus, Feb. 26, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
Soldiers secure the scene of a deadly shooting in Huwara, near Nablus, Feb. 26, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.

Israel Defense Forces troops killed the terrorist on Tuesday who 10 days ago shot dead at point-blank range brothers Hallel Menachem and Yagel Yaakov Yaniv near the Arab village of Huwara.

The military reported that soldiers conducted a counter-terrorism operation in Jenin—a hotbed of Palestinian terrorism in northern Samaria—when gunmen opened fire on them from a house they had surrounded.

Palestinian officials said Abdel Fattah Hussein Kharousha, 49, was killed in the exchange. He is suspected of gunning down the Yanivs on Feb. 26 while they were stuck in a traffic jam near Huwara.

Palestinian media reported six people in total were killed in the Israeli operation.

Israeli police said that two officers from the elite Yamam counterterrorism unit were lightly wounded during the mission. They were evacuated to the hospital for treatment.

The IDF said that soldiers fired shoulder-fired missiles at the building in which Kharousha had barricaded himself.

Palestinians threw concrete blocks and explosive devices at the troops and a number of riots developed. The Israeli forces responded with crowd control measures and gunfire, and injuries were identified.

Two Israeli drones were downed during the mission, according to the IDF.

The military said that troops arrested two of Kharousha’s sons in concurrent operations in Nablus. They are suspected of involvement in the attack that killed the Yanivs and were taken for interrogation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the soldiers who “eliminated the abhorrent terrorist who murdered the two wonderful brothers, Hallel and Yigal Yaniv, in cold blood.”

He continued, saying “our brave soldiers acted with surgical precision in the heart of the murderers’ lair. I commend them and send my best wishes for a swift recovery to our wounded. As I have said repeatedly: Whoever harms us will pay the price.”

In response to the Yanivs’ murder, several hundred Jews took part that night in vigilante activity in Huwara, with some setting fire to property and engaging in clashes with local Arabs, leaving one person dead.

The rioting was strongly denounced by Israeli leaders, with President Isaac Herzog saying at the time: “Taking the law into one’s own hands, rioting and committing violence against innocents—this is not our way, and I express my forceful condemnation. We must allow the IDF, police and security forces to apprehend the despicable terrorist and restore order immediately.”

Hallel and Yagel Yaniv were laid to rest on Feb. 27 on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

“There are no words to describe such a disaster,” said Esti Yaniv, the victims’ mother, at the funeral. “Instead of taking children to the [marriage] chuppah, we bury them.”

‘They want to uproot us’

The same day, Palestinian terrorists killed Israeli-American Elan Ganeles near the Beit Ha’arava Junction close to Jericho in the Jordan Valley.

A native of Connecticut, Ganeles served in the IDF from July 2016 to August 2018. He was living in Manhattan and had traveled to the Jewish state to celebrate a friend’s wedding.

Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, last week paid a condolence call to the Yaniv family in their community of Har Bracha in Samaria.

“If they could, they would murder us all, but they want to uproot us. I say that our answer is to strike at them and deepen our roots,” said the premier.

“We have made a series of decisions recently, in the face of an international reality that is not a simple one, to deepen our roots, to deepen settlement and to expand our hold on our homeland,” he said. “This is the battle in which we find ourselves. These two splendid youths fell in the battle for our homeland.”

Earlier in February, a terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood claimed the lives of Yaakov Israel Paley, 6; his brother, Asher Menachem Paley, 8; and 20-year-old Alter Shlomo Lederman. Three days later, Israeli soldier Staff Sgt. Asil Sawaed, 22, died from wounds sustained in a terrorist attack at a checkpoint to Shuafat in Jerusalem.

On Jan. 27, seven people were killed and several others were wounded in a terrorist shooting rampage at a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Neve Yaakov neighborhood.

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