Manhunt for terrorist who seriously wounded Duvdevan soldier intensifies
Security forces will continue throughout weekend attempts to arrest terrorist who threw concrete slab at soldier in refugee camp on Ramallah's outskirts; soldier still hospitalized in intensive care ward in serious condition; operation was intended to arrest terrorist group who carried out recent shooting attack, it was cleared for publication; 3 members arrested thus far.
The IDF and Shin Bet are tightening their manhunt Thursday for the terrorist who threw a marble slab at a soldier from the army's elite Duvdevan Unit, with forces at the ready to carry out an arrest when provided with intelligence as to his location.
The army's actions at the al-Am'ari refugee camp near Ramallah are thus expected to continue throughout the weekend. Duvdevan Commander Lt.-Col. A. visited the wounded soldier in hospital earlier in the day and spoke with his family members.
The soldiers still operating in the camp were explained the complexities that are part and parcel of operating in such environs, with similar past incidents of throwing heavy objects from the roofs or windows of homes in cluttered alleyways taking place.
In fact, soldiers are often pelted—sometimes at close range—with washing machines, refrigerators and heavy furniture when they operate in the West Bank's refugee camps.
Doctors at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Karem, meanwhile, continued fighting for the wounded soldier's life Thursday evening.
An initial inquiry into the incident turned up that a large marble slab hit the head of the solider, who was part of the operation's covering force. After receiving emergency medical attention in the field, the soldier was taken to the hospital and has been hospitalized in its intensive care ward ever since under both anesthesia and artificial respiration.
It was cleared for publication Thursday that the solider was attacked during an operation aimed at apprehending a group of terrorists involved in a recent shooting attack in the sector.
Thanks to the intelligence efforts of the Shin Bet and the army, one suspect was indeed arrested during the operation, with a further two arrested later in the day. The three suspects were taken in for questioning by Shin Bet.
On the soldier's serious injury, an IDF official said, "His helmet was destroyed. He fell on his back and suffered another blow. So he was hit hard in the head and was evacuated."
"This was a necessary raid to arrest several terrorists who carried out attacks in the past. The soldier was wearing full protective gear, including a helmet, and while he was standing close to one of the homes the marble slab was thrown down at him," the IDF official explained.
While the operation had a specific purpose, it later evolved into a full-scale riot, the official expounded, with the army using crowd control measures to disperse rioters.
The IDF official then remarked that "the terrorist who dropped the marble slab was not arrested. The force didn't open fire at the source and didn't identify it."
He rejected claims changes had been made to the rules of engagement, noting "The reason the soldiers didn't open fire at the terrorist who dropped the marble slab was because he was not identified."
The operation, which is based on Shin Bet intelligence, is part of the IDF's Judea and Samaria Brigade's wide scale activity to thwart attacks during the month of Ramadan, after recent years saw many deadly attacks during the Muslim holiday.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman commented on the incident in his Twitter account, saying, "Our hearts are with the Duvdevan soldier and his family in their difficult time, with all of Israel praying for his recovery."
"We consider the incident to be very grave. The callous terrorist who harmed him will not know rest. Before long, we will get our hands on him—dead or alive," the minister vowed.