The Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security service on Friday evening intensified efforts to locate the terrorists behind the West Bank bombing that killed 17-year-old Rina Shnerb, while trying to prevent an escalation of violence.
Rina was killed and her 19-year-old brother Dvir and their 46-year-old father Rabbi Eitan Shnerb were wounded on Friday morning when an improvised explosive device detonated as they headed to a natural spring near the West Bank settlement of Dolev.
The IDF is focusing its efforts on defending the settlements in the area to prevent copycat attacks.
As such, the IDF has decided to maintain freedom of movement for Palestinians on the local roads. Furthermore, activity in Palestinian territories are being conducted in line with intelligence gathered and data collected by the Shin Bet in an effort to trace the location of the perpetrators.
Troops were also searching nearby villages and confiscating videos from security cameras. Security forces also questioned a Palestinian who was standing near the scene of the attack and who claimed to have seen a white vehicle quickly departing the site.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi arrived at the scene shortly after the attack, accompanied by GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Nadav Padan and the commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brig. Gen. Eran Niv.
Kochavi then held a field situation assessment with other IDF commanders and officials from the Shin Bet and Israel Police regarding the details of the attack and the ensuing searches in the area.
"We are in the midst of a hunt conducted by IDF forces, the Shin Bet and the police, and are coordinating a broad operational intelligence effort to locate the perpetrators of this murderous attack," Kochavi said.
"I am confident in our ability to locate the perpetrators soon and continue to provide a high-quality and comprehensive security solution for the residents of Judea and Samaria (West Bank)."
It was initially unclear to the security forces whether a terrorist had thrown the bomb at the family or their route was booby-trapped, but they later decided that that second option was most likely.
This type of attack is extremely unusual and has raised concerns among local residents that more devices have been placed at other hiking spots in Judea and Samaria.
In the Gaza Strip, the leader of the territory's Hamas rulers, Ismail Haniyeh, welcomed the attack, describing it "a heroic operation."
He did not claim responsibility but praised the attackers "regardless of who they are ... they are the sons of Jerusalem and this holy land."
Referring to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Haniyeh urged Israel is to "get away from this gunpowder keg," warning that attempts by Jews to enter the compound on which the al-Aqsa Mosque is built would lead to further escalation.
"There is no prayer for you in al-Aqsa, because al-Aqsa and Jerusalem are for us," he said.
Nickolay Mladenov, the UN's Middle East envoy, condemned the bomb attack and Hamas' praising of it.
"There is nothing 'heroic' in murder! NOTHING! It is a despicable, cowardly act!" he wrote on Twitter.
In response to the attack, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad said: "We welcome the attack on the settlers in Ramallah and regard it as a natural response to what the occupation forces and the settler gangs are doing to the Palestinian people."