The two terrorists who were killed Thursday evening after breaking into a yeshiva in the settlement of Kfar Etzion were released from an Israeli prison last week, Palestinian sources in Hebron told Ynet.
According to the sources, the terrorists were identified as relatives Muhammad and Mahmoud Sbarana, both 20-year-old Hamas members from the village of Beit Omer, near Hebron.
The terrorists, armed with a gun and a knife and dressed in uniform, threatened the students and the instructors with the weapons before being shot to death by the yeshiva's instructors, two of whom were lightly injured while struggling with the terrorists.
Palestinian security officials told Ynet Friday morning that the two were imprisoned in Israel for the past two years for attempting to steal weapons from an IDF base in the Gush Etzion area.
MK Zevulun Orlev (NRP) said Friday, in reaction to this report that “(Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert now has proof written in blood that a terrorist remains a terrorist”.
“The attempted murder in Gush Etzion is another warning to the government that if it releases Palestinian terrorists, the result will be Jewish blood,” he said.
Officials in Jerusalem said the terrorists were released at the conclusion of their prison sentence and not as part of an Israeli gesture to the Palestinian Authority.
Entrance to Shoafat after attack (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Meanwhile, security forces are continuing to comb the Shoafat area for the terrorists behind Thursday night's shooting attack at the entrance to the north Jerusalem refugee camp, which left one Border Guard officer dead and another injured.
Heightened alert level in Jerusalem
Investigators were able to say with certainty that one of police officers' rifles was snatched by the terrorists following the attack. Fatah activists belonging to the "Brigades of Return" and to "Black September" claimed responsibility for the shooting and said they were in possession of the missing rifle.
An initial investigation into the incident revealed that two terrorists had approached the northern entrance of the refugee camp by foot. They fired at two Israelis and fled the scene.
Rami Zuhari of Beersheva was critically injured, and later died of his wounds despite paramedics' attempts to resuscitate him. Another female officer, Shoshana Samandoyev, sustained moderate to serious wounds and was evacuated to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in the capital.
Samandoyev told Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, who came to visit her at the hospital, that she “tired to load her weapon, but was fired on and then passed out.”
The female officer, who is still bedridden but making a slow recovery, recounted the events of Thursday’s shooting attack to Dichter, and told him that she tired to load her weapon and fire at the attackers, but was fired upon first and passed out.
“I passed out for a few minutes but then got up and tired to load my weapon again. I was in a lot of pain, and I couldn’t move,” said Samandoyev. “I called for the Border Guard Officer next to me (Lance Corporal Rami Zuhari who was killed in the attack), but he did not respond.”
The officer stated that she could not hear anything for a few minutes due to the sheer force of the blast. “I flipped open my phone, told my commander that I was shot at and asked for backup,” she recalled, “ and by and by I loaded my weapon and tried to fire at the attackers’ vehicle….I passed out again from blood loss. I remember crawling toward the checkpoint and finally seeing a Border Guard Jeep that began to take control of the scene.”
In the wake of the attack and amid fears of possible Palestinian unrest at the Temple Mount, Jerusalem District Commander Aharon Franco held another security assessment meeting Friday morning, after which it was decided to maintain the heightened alert level in the capital.