Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday it’s “only a matter of time” until “the score is settled” with the gunman responsible for killing two IDF soldiers in the West Bank outpost of Giv’at Asaf last week.
The prime minister visited the scene of the attack where Sergeant Yosef Cohen, aged 19 from Beit Shemesh, and 20-year-old Staff Sergeant Yovel Moryosef from Ashkelon, were shot dead when a gunman leapt out of his car and opened fire as the two soldiers stood at a bus stop close to the Jewish outpost. Another IDF soldier was critically wounded in the attack, while two civilians had also been hurt.
Netanyahu received a briefing from GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Nadav Padan and said the security forces are “in the midst of a manhunt,” adding that so far 100 suspects have been detained on suspicion of being involved in the incident.
"The Palestinian terrorists think the attacks will uproot us, but they won’t. It is the heart of our homeland, and we will strengthen the settlement enterprise even more. We will take all the necessary steps to combat terror, not only from Gaza, but from the West Bank as well,” the prime minister stressed during the visit.
Netanyahu also praised the residents of Israeli settlements in the West Bank for showing “resilience and strength in the face of terror," adding that he wishes “to commend the IDF officers and soldiers who work around the clock to protect the citizens of our country.”
The Commanding Officer of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brig. Gen. Eran Niv, told the prime minister during the visit the shooting is most likely connected to the terror attack near the settlement of Ofra last week, which resulted in the death of an infant who was born prematurely after his mother was wounded in the incident.
"A terrorist, who is connected to the Ofra attack, drove from Ramallah in a vehicle with a yellow registration plate (official color of Israeli registration plates) so when his car stopped at the bus stop, the three soldiers who had been standing there didn’t suspect him,” Niv explained.
The officer added once the attacker shot the soldiers, he took the M-16 rifle from one of them as they were bleeding on the ground, entered the vehicle and took off.
“We were in pursuit,” said Niv. “In the end we couldn't catch up with him … but both weapons, the one used in the shooting and the one he stole, had been recovered.”
In the meantime, President Reuven Rivlin said during his condolence visit to the families of the two soldiers who’d been killed, that their sons are “real heroes,” who understood “that only we can protect our homeland.”