Photo Credit: Nasser Ishtayeh / Flash 90
Israeli soldiers conduct searches after an Arab terror attack against an Israeli soldier. (archive)

A Palestinian Authority terrorist who murdered two soldiers last week is being protected by the Ramallah government and its security force.

The two Israeli soldiers were killed Wednesday in a late-night ramming attack by Abed Rauf Shteyeh, a 30-year-old resident of Shechem, at one of the entrances to the Palestinian Authority city in Samaria, close to the Jewish community of Itamar.


IDF Sgt. Eliya Hillel, 20, was a resident of Tel Zion in the Binyamin region. He is survived by his parents and three siblings. IDF Sgt. Diego Shvisha Harsaj, 20, was a resident of Tel Aviv. Both were fighters in the Kefir Brigade’s Nachshon Battalion.

The terrorist, who escaped back into Shechem, turned himself in to the Palestinian Authority security service. He was not handed over to Israel but instead was taken to an undisclosed location where he is being protected by the Ramallah government.

“The terrorist from Shechem spent a night at the police headquarters there, then was transferred to an unknown location, probably by the Palestinian Authority security force,” Israel’s Channel 14 News reporter Baruch Yedid wrote in a post on the X social media platform.

“The governor of Shechem told the family that the local authorities cannot bear responsibility for his detention due to Israel’s threats to act. The security service refused to keep the terrorist in the official headquarters, so he was moved into hiding,” Yedid reported.

The Israel Defense Forces and the IDF’s Civil Administration assumed that because there has been a handshake between Israeli and Palestinian Authority security forces in the past, the terrorist would be handed over — but instead, the terrorist was freed, Channel 14 News reporter Hillel Biton Rosen added.

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

According to the report, a manhunt has now been launched, led by the Shin Bet, to locate the terrorist who is reportedly is hiding in the offices of the General Intelligence of the Palestinian Authority in Shechem, which which refuses to hand him over to Israel.

On Saturday night, hundreds of residents from the Samaria and Jordan Valley communities blocked all the entrances and exits from Shechem in response to the Palestinian Authority’s protection of the killer. The intersection where the attack was carried out was blocked as well.

The mother of Eliya Hillel, one of the murdered soldiers, has called for a siege on the city of Shechem until the killer is handed over.

“It is not enough that the terrorist did not become a martyr, as they constantly preach to each other to be,” she said. “He fled back to Shechem and the Palestinian Authority is protecting him with cotton batting so that he will not be hurt. They promised that they would hand him over, but in practice, they have kept him safe.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.