Terror attack in the settlement of Shilo: The IDF is to increase its presence in the West Bank, following fears of revenge attacks by Palestinians. Troops are trying to prevent friction between settlers and Palestinians in nearby villages.
Four Palestinians were murdered Wednesday afternoon and another sustained moderate injuries in the West Bank settlement of Shilo, after a settler opened fire on the vehicle they were traveling in.
The Palestinians killed were identified as 45-year-old father of six Muhammad Mansur, from the village of Kfar Kalil, near Nablus, Basam Awani, from the village of Sanjal, near Ramallah, Halil Walawil of Qalqilya and Osama Musa Tawafsha, 33, also from Sanjal.
The killer was identified as 40-year-old Asher Weissgan, a father of two who works as a driver.He was taken in for questioning by the police and Shin Bet.
Defense establishment officials claim they had not received prior information indicating Weissgan's intention to carry out a terror attack.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has requested Palestinian terror groups “not to respond to provocations, and not give excuses to those interested in stopping Israel’s withdrawal.”
An initial investigation revealed the terrorist, who is a resident of the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel, approached a security guard at the entrance to Shilo and asked for a glass of water, before wresting away the guard’s weapon.
At around 5 p.m., the attacker fired at a group of Palestinians at the community’s entrance, hitting four people.
However, the assailant was not done there and continued to Shilo’s industrial zone, where he opened fire again, hitting another Palestinian.
A short time later, the settlement’s chief of security captured the terrorist and handed him over to authorities, as large rescue forces were dispatched to the scene.
Magen David Adom ambulance service official Zaki Heller told Ynet: “We are talking about a shooting incident in Shilo’s industrial zone. Ambulances and intensive care units were dispatched to the scene as well as IDF helicopters.”
Meanwhile, MDA spokesman Hagai Shmueli told Ynet the injured were taken to Jerusalem's Hadaasah Ein-Kerem hospital.
The injured were evacuated to a Jerusalem hospital (Photo: Haim Tzach)
Hamas threatened to avenge the shooting, which is seen as an attempt to disrupt the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
"This crime is not going to pass without tough punishment," Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said.
However, he said Hamas also has an interest in seeing the Gaza withdrawal proceed, suggesting Hamas might not act immediately.
The Yesha Council condemned the Shilo shooting attack and issued a statement saying, "A murder is a murder."
"We are deeply saddened that during such a sensitive and difficult time for our nation, when people are being expelled from their homes, the weak find an outlet for their emotions with such a crazy act," the statement said.
Minister without Portfolio Matan Vilnai (Labor) told Ynet, “These are crazy people that should be tracked down – we must not permit this to become a phenomenon.”
“The settler leaders must condemn this act. This cannot become a routine event,” he said.
About two weeks ago, Jewish terrorist Eden Natan Zada murdered four Israelis aboard the Arab town of Shfaram. Before the pullout, security officials were concerned about the prospect of far right attacks on Arabs aimed at thwarting the disengagement.
Shani Mizrachi contributed to this report