update deskIsrael at War

Palestinian convert to Judaism mistakenly killed by IDF in Judea

David Ben Avraham, formerly Sameh Muhammad Abd al-Rai Zaytoun, was from Hebron.

Security forces at the site where David Ben Avraham, a Palestinian convert to Judaism, was shot by IDF soldiers, near Elazar in Gush Etzion, March 21, 2024. Photo by Gershon Elinson/Flash90.
Security forces at the site where David Ben Avraham, a Palestinian convert to Judaism, was shot by IDF soldiers, near Elazar in Gush Etzion, March 21, 2024. Photo by Gershon Elinson/Flash90.

Israeli forces on Thursday morning shot and killed a Palestinian convert to Judaism in the Gush Etzion region of Judea.

Hebrew-language media identified the man as David Ben Avraham, formerly Sameh Muhammad Abd al-Rai Zaytoun, from Hebron.

The Israeli military said that Ben Avraham had “aroused suspicion” after getting out of a Palestinian taxi close to the Jewish community of Elazar, located some 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) south of Jerusalem.

He reportedly had his hands in the air when he was shot in the lower body.

A knife was subsequently found in his bag.

The Military Police was set to question a reserve soldier under caution over the “serious incident.”

Ben Avraham converted several years ago, inspired by his grandfather, who had saved Jews during the 1929 Hebron massacre. Following his conversion, he spent time in a Palestinian Authority prison, where he was reportedly tortured in an attempt to force him to change his mind.

The development came after two members of Israel’s security forces were wounded on Tuesday in a shooting attack near the Oz veGaon Nature Reserve, located between the Gush Etzion Junction and Migdal Oz in Judea.

The victims, both of them officers of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), were lightly and seriously wounded, respectively.

One of the officers returned fire, killing the assailant. The terrorist was identified as Ziad al-Hamran, 30, from Jenin in northern Samaria.

Meanwhile, the IDF said on Thursday that Israeli forces operated in the Nur Shams camp, near Tulkarem in western Samaria, hours after launching a brigade-level counterterror operation in the area.

The military confirmed that during the operation, an airstrike had been carried out against two terrorists who posed an “immediate threat” to troops.

IDF soldiers killed two additional terrorists during a gun battle and detained three wanted Palestinians.

On Wednesday, an Israeli Air Force drone strike killed two senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in the northern Samaria city of Jenin, according to the military and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).

The slain terrorists were identified as Ahmed Barakat and Muhammad Hawashin.

According to a joint statement by the IDF and Shin Bet, Barakat carried out a terrorist shooting in Samaria on May 30, 2023, murdering Israeli civilian Meir Tamari, 31.

Barakat and Hawashin recently plotted a thwarted attack that targeted “the heart of Israel,” and were also behind the March 8 terrorist bombing that wounded seven Israeli soldiers at a military outpost near Homesh, outside Nablus in central Samaria, according to the statement.

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