IDF forces are still searching for the Palestinian perpetrators of a terror attack near the flashpoint West Bank town of Hebron Monday night, which left a man dead, and wounded his wife and nine-year-old son.
The attacks occurred as Israel marked the Passover holiday, and according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld the family was travelling to their traditional Passover Seder meal when terrorists opened fire on their car. The man belonged to Israel's security forces.
Police further said that the gunfire, which came from an automatic weapon, had hit the car as it traveled on Route 35, at the junction leading to the Palestinian village of Idhna.
The IDF were still in the midst of a massive manhunt Tuesday morning, conducting door to door searches in Idhna, where they believe the terrorist fled after the attack. Numerous roadblocks set up after the incident are still operating.
A shooting attack near Hebron (Photo: Reuters) Nonetheless no arrests have yet been made, and as time passes, the Shin Bet's investigation is shifting its focus from the field to intelligence work.
An IDF spokeswoman reportedly told Palestinian news agency Ma'an that "there were elaborate scans yesterday (Monday) in order to find the shooter."
Ambulances after fatal shooting attack near Hebron (Photo: EPA)
Meanwhile, at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, the two surviving members of the family were still wounded. The fresh widow sustained moderate injuries after a bullet pierced her body, and was now fully conscious and in stable condition. According to the hospital, the woman was devastated upon learning her husband's fate.
Their son, 9, sustained light injuries and was also stable. Overnight, medical teams worked to extract shrapnel pieces from the young boy's body. He will be released in the coming hours but will return to the hospital in the evening for an evaluation.
Interior Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich visited the widow, and spoke highly of the victim, with whom he was professionally acquainted: "The widow is a strong woman. I knew the victim, a man of the security forces, a man of principle and very professional. This is a huge loss for the family, and of course to security forces."
He retold the event as he heard them from the wife, and claimed that the family was en route to their Seder in the Kiryat Arba, a settlement at the entrance to Hebron, when the terrorists opened fire at the car. He further said the woman told him the boy was sitting on her lap when the gunfire erupted.
Aharonovich also slammed the incident, calling it "murderous", and promised security forces would apprehend the killer.
The Regional Battalion is still investigating the attack, and current assessments believe it was well planned, with the shooter or shooters choosing an escape route before hand. The IDF is also examining the possibility that they did not escape on foot.
An initial investigation by the IDF claimed that at least one terrorist approached the road and began firing on passing cars from close range with an automatic rifle. He then ran to a second position where he continued to fire his weapon and then proceeded to flee the scene.
The IDF's working assumption is that it is a "lone terrorist" attack - in the sense of an independent initiative by either one or a number of Palestinians, and not part of the ongoing activities of terror organizations.
The area has been scene to numerous security incidents, but has enjoyed a relative quite in the last year. The fact that Idhna is relatively isolated in relation to Hebron and surroundings communities like Dura could aid security forces in finding the shooter. Despite the attack, cooperation between Israel and Palestinian security forces during the holiday proceeded without incident.
Dani Adino Ababa and Elior Levy contributed to this report.