After almost a month of intense efforts by Israeli security forces, the Hamas terror cell that carried out the deadly July 1 drive-by shooting attack near Otniel was located in the village of Surif and raided by Israeli army troops, the Shin Bet revealed this morning.
Mohammed Jabarah al-Faqih, the terrorist who shot and murdered Rabbi Michael Mark and injured his family members, fired upon the IDF troops. An IDF spokesperson said the force responded by shooting several anti-tank missiles at the building in which al-Faqih had barricaded himself. The forces demolished the house, killing the terrorist and injuring his wife and kids
IDF forces also found an assortment of weapons near him, including a Kalashnikov rifle and a homemade grenade.
Al-Faqih is a 29-year-old resident of Hebron, originally from the village of Dura in the Mount Hebron region. According to the Shin Bet he had been imprisoned previously for planning terror attacks as a member of the Islamic Jihad terror organization. He became a Hamas member during his incarceration.
Other members of the terror cell were arrested in the raid, including several of al-Faqih’s family members who had assisted him and hid him after he carried out the terror attack.
Mohammed Majid Omayra, 38, a member of the Palestinian Authority national security mechanism, was arrested on July 4 for participating in the attack. He admitted during interrogation to driving the car while al-Faqih fired the deadly shots at the Israeli vehicle. The car and weapon that were used in the attack were handed over to the Israeli security forces.
The killers brother, Sahib Al Faqih, was arrested and confessed to helping Mohammed evade Israeli security forces in addition to hiding the murder weapon. Their cousin Mouaz al-Faqih was arrested as well and admitted he let the terrorist sleep in his apartment after the attack. The Shin Bet said additional family members were arrested on similar suspicions, without going into further detail.
The IDF said an Arab woman was injured during the exchange of fire in Surif. She was taken to hospital in light condition.
The operation followed intensive efforts by the Israeli army, the Shin Bet and the Israeli police to gather intelligence and locate the terrorists.
The shoot out damaged an electric transmission tower line and resulted in power outages to the village and its surroundings. It also cut water supply to many Jewish communities in the Mount Hebron region for several hours. They were instructed to use water only for drinking purposes.
Michael Bachner – Tazpit News Agency