In a joint operation early Sunday, Israel’s internal security agency Shin Bet, Border Police and the Israeli military captured two terrorists responsible for Thursday’s murder of a 25-year-old Israeli yeshiva student in the West Bank.
Yehuda Dimentman was killed and two other Jewish seminary students were wounded in the terror attack. The terrorists who were captured in a village outside the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank, are reportedly members of Islamic Jihad, a radical terrorist organization, which has a strong presence in the Gaza Strip but also has cells in the West Bank. The Israeli authorities also seized weapons and arrested four other local Arabs who reportedly assisted the terrorists in the lethal attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett praised the military and security agency for the swift operation.
“I commend the ISA, the IDF and the Israel National Counter-Terrorism Unit, on quickly bringing this to a close, with multiple units cooperating and acting in concert, which led to the capture of the terrorists who carried out the attack in Samaria,” Bennett said.
Bennett also stressed that the Jewish state would eventually hunt down any terrorists who attack Israeli civilians.
“All terrorists need to know that the State of Israel will hold them accountable. They cannot hide for long. Every terrorist must know that they are on borrowed time. I would like to convey to the family of Yehuda Dimentman: The pain is immense but terrorism will not win and will not move us from here,” Bennett stated.
Dimentman was a 25-year-old father of a 9-month-old baby and a student at a religious school in the Shavei Shomron community. The nearby site Homesh – where the attack took place – was evacuated by Israel in 2005 as part of the Jewish state’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and a few small Jewish communities in the northern West Bank.
It is not a coincidence that the terrorists were hiding outside Jenin, where the Palestinian Authority has limited influence and is seriously challenged by its rivals Hamas and Islamic Jihad. During the Second Intifada in the early 2000s, Jenin was a major terrorist hub and a focal point for Israel’s anti-terrorist operations. In September, Israeli forces captured two Islamic Jihad terrorists in the Jenin area after they escaped from the supposedly high-security Gilboa prison in northern Israel.
While relations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority are complex and tense, both sides are, for different reasons, interested in quiet and stability in the disputed West Bank. However, in recent weeks, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have stepped up their efforts to organize and carry out terrorist attacks in the West Bank. While the targets are usually Israeli citizens, a major purpose of the attacks is to undermine the increasingly unpopular PA’s ability to govern the Arab population in the West Bank.
During Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, the Israeli prime minister commented on the recent increase in organized terrorist activities in the area, as well as so-called lone wolf attacks.
“We have witnessed in recent weeks attempts by terrorist organizations to rear their head in Judea and Samaria. At the same time, there are terrorist attacks by lone actors, inspired by the regular incitement that may change its platform – in the past it was Facebook and now it’s TikTok – but the incitement is the same incitement,” Bennett declared.
In recent weeks, four terrorist attacks took place in Israel’s capital Jerusalem, including a recent attack by Hamas in Jerusalem’s Old City which claimed the life of Eli Kay in late November.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.