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Treating the wounded Photo: Tomeriko
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IDF: Nablus shooting not a terror attack

Military, PA investigating shooting of Israelis near Joseph's Tomb. Initial details suggest event was security incident, shooters were Palestinian policemen. Settlers: This was cold blooded murder

Ynet
Published: 04.24.11, 09:10 / Israel News

IDF and Palestinian security forces have launched an investigation into Sunday's deadly shooting near Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus.

 

One Israeli was killed and five others sustained serious to mild injuries in the shooting, which took place around 6 am.

 

One of the initial leads in the investigation is that the group – 15 Breslov Hassidim traveling in three cars – failed to coordinate their arrival at the Tomb with the necessary authorities, and were subsequently shot by Palestinian police officers.

 

West Bank Shooting
1 killed, 5 injured in shooting near Nablus  / Ynet
Group of Israelis heading to Joseph's Tomb for prayers comes under Palestinian fire, which leaves one dead, several in serious to mild condition. IDF investigating possibility men failed to coordinate arrival with necessary authorities
Full story
A military source told Ynet that the shooting was not an act of terror, adding the incident could have been prevented, had the group simply coordinated their arrival to the area in advance.

 

Israeli and Palestinians security officials are scheduled to meet later Sunday, to coordinate the joint investigation.

 

IDF sources hedged that the Palestinians had the police officers suspected of shooting at the convoy in custody, but Palestinian Security Forces Spokesman Adnan Damiri said that the police officers were simply questioned.

 

In an interview with a Palestinian radio station Damiri added that Palestinian security forces were investigating the incident independently and that Israel has yet to establish any kind of inquiry.

 

Governor of Nablus Jibril al-Bakri told Ynet that the shooting was unintentional, calling it a "security incident."

 

He added that Nablus security forces operated in full coordination with the IDF. "Many Israeli enter the area, but they all do so with permits and military approval. In this case, there was not advanced coordination. In such cases, the Palestinian police detains the vehicle and hands over the Israelis to the IDF. This time, for reasons that are nor clear, they had to open fire. This was not a terror shooting attack."

 

Al-Bakri further said several warning shots were fired prior to the fire on the vehicles themselves and stressed the incident was under investigation.

 

Generally, the coordination between Israeli and Palestinian security forces in the area is effective. The GOC Central Command said that in many cases Palestinian security forces work to extract Israelis who enter Palestinian cities safely, and the IDF sector commanders are in daily contact with their Palestinian counterparts.

 

"This was an abnormal event which does not characterize the nature of the relationship," a military source said. "It is possible that the group's failure to coordinate the visit caused a misunderstanding. The matter is under investigation."

 

Minister Limor Livnat whose nephew Ben-Yosef Livnat was killed in the incident said that she was "shocked by the murderous terror attack".

 

In a statement she revealed that her nephew's soul aim was to pray ahead of the Passover holiday and he "was killed in cold blood in an abominable way."

 

'Cold blooded murder'

Still, both Breslovers and settlers are convinced otherwise. A relative of the fatality – a 24-year-old father of four from Jerusalem – told Ynet that "the Israeli government, which disgracefully abandoned Joseph's Tomb, arming tens of thousand of killers with guns, now notes another disgrace, which will not end until Jews are properly reinstated in Nablus.

 

"If the government fails to protect the holy sites, as required in the Oslo Accords, is it any wonder the Arabs behave this way?"

 

MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) commented on the shooting, saying: "Monsters called the Palestinian Authority and an enemy army were formed here. These are terrorists, who shot people in the back and confirmed the kill.

 

"Anyone justifying this murder but saying they entered a restricted area justifies the same terror that says the entire Jewish presence in the Holy Land is illegal. Joseph's Tomb should be under full Israeli control. This enemy army must be dismantled."

  

The Yesha Council issued the following statement: "This morning's murder by Palestinian police officers cannot be tolerated. Of the recent murder of Jews was the result of incitement by the Palestinian Authority, then this is a murder committed by the PA itself, just like in the days of Arafat."

 

"The iron wall constructed by the IDF nine years ago is cracked again, this time by the bullets of those seeking statehood. This too is a result of the abandonment of Joseph's Tomb in a moment of weakness."

 

The Shomron Settlers' Council added that, "this morning's murder illustrates the danger that lies with relying on the Palestinian regime. Every Palestinian police officer is a potential terrorist. They share the hatred." 

 

The Yesha Human Rights group also released a statement denouncing the murder and saying that "killing worshipers on holy ground, in the midst of a holiday, by Palestinian officers, is proof that the Serry Report (which determined the Palestinian were ready for statehood) should be thrown out, just like the Goldstone Report.

 

"Israel should reclaim full control of Joseph's Tomb to insure the safety of its citizens."

 

Gershon Mesika head of the Shomron Regional Council said that the Palestinian officers were clearly at fault: "Breslov Hassidim come to the Tomb to pray every week. They know them but for some reason, they decided to open fire this time." He went on to call the incident a "massacre."

 

Elior Levy, Hanan Greenberg and Yair Altman contributed to this report

 

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