Israeli security teams surrounded Ramallah overnight; according to a local source, only residents who could prove their status were allowed in and out of the city.
The soldiers sealed off the Palestinian Authority capital following the shooting of three Israeli soldiers by a PA police officer.
The dragnet came in response to an attack on Israeli soldiers earlier in the day by one of the members of the personal security team for Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.
The officer drove up from Ramallah to the IDF checkpoint next to the Jewish community of Beit El. He got out of his car holding a handgun and shot three Israeli soldiers at point-blank range, seriously wounding two and a third less severely. Other soldiers immediately returned fire and killed the terrorist on site.
Less than two hours later, Arab terrorists attacked Israeli vehicles driving along Highway 443 – the old Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway – next to the Dor Alon gas station on the road. Although stone-throwing attacks on moving vehicles can be and have often been deadly, in this case no Israelis were injured.
Three IDF soldiers were wounded in an Arab terror attack Sunday morning at the ‘Focus’ checkpoint near the Samaria Jewish community of Beit El, near Ramallah.
It now appears that the terrorist was a member of the Palestinian Authority police detail assigned to escort and provide security to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
“A gunman opened fire near Beit El, north of Jerusalem,” said an IDF spokesperson. “Forces at the scene responded to the attack and shot the assailant, resulting in his death.”
One of the injured soldiers, age 21, was taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem with a gunshot wound in the neck.
He is in serious condition.
A second soldier, age 21, was taken to Hadassah Mount Scopus Medical Center with gunshot wounds to the stomach and extremities. He is also in serious condition.
The third soldier, age 20, is also at the Hadassah Mount Scopus Medical Center after sustaining gunshot wounds to the extremities. He is in good condition.
The terrorist arrived by car at the checkpoint from the direction of Ramallah. He used a handgun to carry out the attack.
A Facebook post in Arabic uploaded just prior to the shooting was spotted by a source that has requested anonymity.
“Ahmad Abu Omer, 34, wrote in a post on his Facebook page prior to the attack at Beit El, “We deserve to live in this Land, but there is nothing that justifies living as long as there is the Occupation that kills our brothers and our sisters.” He added a photo of himself allegedly on the way to a terror attack with the caption, “We will overcome in the name of Allah.”
It is not clear what Abu Omer’s connection is to the shooter, or whether he was the shooter himself.
According to a local source, the terrorist who opened fire at the soldiers was Amjid Saher, a PA Police Officer who allegedly worked in the security unit that escorted and provided personal security to “Abu Mazen” — Mahmoud Abbas — when he is in Ramallah.
The father of the gunman who attacked a pub on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street last Friday has been arrested, along with five members of the family, after two of the shooter’s brothers were taken into custody on Saturday.
Muhammad Milhem was the one who identified his son, Nashet Milhem, 31, as the shooter when he saw video footage of the attack on a broadcast last weekend. The elder Milhem is a security guard and auxiliary police officer; it was his weapon the gunman stole and used in the attack.
The younger Milhem shot and killed two people and wounded eight others last Friday, and traumatized many others. Last Saturday police searched the Milhem family home in the northern Israeli Arab town of Ar’ara in Wadi Ara.
Two of the shooter’s brothers were arrested as suspected accessories in the attack. One was taken to a judge at the Haifa Magistrate’s Court the same evening, where his remand was extended by five days.
Tuesday morning, Milhem’s father and five other family members were taken into custody and arrested as well.
“This is police impotency,” family attorney Nachmi Feinblatt was quoted by Israel’s Channel 2 television news as saying. “In the end, they arrested the entire family.”
Nashet Milhem is still at large; he is armed with the submachine gun he used in the attack, and the public is being warned that he is considered dangerous.
Security personnel are focusing most of their search on the northern Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Aviv. That is where Milhem worked for nearly a decade in a vegetable store, and where he was last reported being seen by residents.
Two people were killed and eight wounded in a Friday shooting incident near a pub at 124 Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv. Among the injured, four are in serious condition and three medium. Hundreds of police have been sent to the area, including special forces, the Shabak and SWAT, and are conducting a manhunt after the shooter who fled the scene in north Tel Aviv. Police Commissioner General Ronnie Alshiech is on the scene. The wounded were evacuated to Ichilov Hospital, Tel Hashomer, Wolfson and Beilinson.
The terrorist fired his submachine gun at the pub and from there continued running toward a nearby restaurant, where he replaced his cartridges. According to various reports, the shooter was holed up at the corner of Reines and Remez Streets.
As of the beginning of Shabbat in Israel, Police are not yet clear regarding the identity of the shooter.