Israeli agents end the search for the perpetrators of last Thursday's attack in the city of Elad.
After a search of more than 60 hours by police, soldiers and members of the Shabak (internal secret service), Israel has arrested the two Palestinians who hacked to death three citizens in Elad, in the center of the country.
Yousef Asad Al Rafa (19) and Sabhi Abu Shakir (20) were located in a forest not far from the place where they committed the attack on Thursday night and did not resist against Israeli soldiers and agents. The traces of blood from one of them helped to follow their trail. After the arrest, one of them admitted in Arabic to an agent's camera that he was responsible for the attack in Elad. Nearby, his axes were found.
These are two young people from Romana, in the Jenin area (West Bank), who worked illegally in Elad. According to the police investigation, they arrived in this Israeli city in the car of Oren Ben Yiftah (35) who thought they were only going to work. Arriving in this mostly ultra-Orthodox town that they knew so well, the Palestinians murdered the Israeli driver in his vehicle. Later they began a bloody tour through the streets of Elad killing Boaz Gol (49) and Yonatan Havakuk with axes (44) in the presence of their children and injured four other bystanders. From that moment, they managed to stay off the Israeli radar until this Sunday morning when they were stopped just a kilometer from Elad.
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"The terrorists who murdered with axes and inconceivable cruelty have been captured as miserable," says Prime Minister Naftali Bennett while Police Chief Inspector Kobi Shabtai , who on Saturday expressed his fear of a new attack during his escape, adds that "The message is that we will always reach those who commit terrorist attacks."
"We salute the heroes of the heroic operation that has uncovered the fragility of the security agencies of the Zionist entity that has nuclear weapons," the Islamist group Hamas has reacted, applauding an attack that has shocked Israeli society. Since last March 22, 18 people have been killed in six attacks in the worst wave of attacks in recent years in Israel. According to security sources, "in recent weeks we have aborted dozens of terrorist attacks but we still have more concrete alerts." Israeli raids and resulting clashes and riots have killed 27 Palestinians, including militants, attackers and civilians in the past two months.
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The fact that Hamas has assumed responsibility for one of the attacks (April 29 in Ariel), has encouraged it to carry out more and that its leader Yehya Sinwar asked a week ago "to use a rifle and whoever does not have a knife or an ax "to kill Israelis, has put him in the crosshairs. At least in the mouth of some analysts and politicians who ask for his head to end "with the situation in which Hamas calmly rearms in Gaza while promoting attacks in Israel and encouraging clashes in the Esplanade of the Mosques with lies and hatred."
In a message to Hamas, although without citing him and under growing internal criticism, Bennett stated this Sunday: "We are at the gates of a new phase in the face of terror. You cannot instigate violence and rest or throw a match and flee. The main mission of the Government of Israel is to restore personal security to citizens."
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According to various sources, the Government and the Army are not in favor today of an operation against Sinwar , in what would be a return to "selective assassinations" of Palestinian leaders, considering that it would cause a massive escalation with the armed factions in Gaza and it would not stop the wave of Palestinian attacks. According to the Palestinian daily Al Quds , Hamas received a message from Israel through the Egyptian mediator that it is not interested in an escalation or in killing Sinwar as long as the calm of recent months is maintained and no projectiles have been launched since Loop.
In any case, and as a precautionary measure, Sinwar and the rest of the leaders of Hamas and other factions in Gaza "went down to the bunker". The spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas, Abu Obeida, warns that "the Israeli occupation's cowardly threats about the possible assassination of Sinwar and other resistance leaders will provoke an earthquake in the entire region and an unprecedented response".
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"We will open a new catastrophic chapter in the history of the Zionist regime," he added, warning that the Palestinian reaction would be far superior to what Israel saw in the last major escalation that took place exactly one year ago, hinting at the return of suicide attacks. Similar announcements have been launched by spokesmen for the second largest group in Gaza and also supported by Iran, Islamic Jihad.
Several of the attackers in recent months were not part of a plan organized by a specific Palestinian group but acted alone, convinced on social networks and messages from their leaders that "the holy Al Aqsa is in danger." The clashes between police and Palestinians in an area sacred to both Islam (Noble Sanctuary) and Judaism (Temple Mount) and the belief of many Palestinians that Israel intends to change its Status Quo raised tensions in the always sensitive month of Ramadan. which this year coincided with the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Israel responds to the accusations by pointing out that it does not want to modify the Status Quoin the sanctuary and that "respects and guarantees the freedom of worship of Muslims in the enclosure that is profaned by groups of Palestinian radicals who provoked the clashes".
The religious element is important in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians but the fear is that it will turn into a religious war. The Palestinian president, Abu Mazen, who denounced a few days ago what he calls "attacks against the Holy Places", also warned Israel of the danger of the lack of political horizon for the two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.
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