JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinian men allegedly involved in the shooting death of an Israeli motorist in the West Bank.
Israeli soldiers entered Nablus last Friday night in an attempt to arrest the men responsible for the previous night’s murder of Meir Avshalom Hai, a 45-year-old father of seven near the northern West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron. The men were killed in their homes while resisting arrest, according to the IDF.
The IDF spokesman said Sunday that a ballistics test on a weapon found in the home of one of the terrorists matched the bullet that killed Hai.
"I would like to commend the Shin Bet and the IDF for the quick operation against the cell that murdered Rabbi Meir Avshalom Hai," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting. "Our policy against terrorism is clear. We will continue to respond aggressively against any attack on Israeli citizens and against any firing of rockets or missiles at Israeli territory."
Noting that one of the terrorists involved in the attack had been released from Israeli prison, Netanyahu said, "This is precisely the consideration standing against the Shalit deal. The issue of our citizens’ security, particularly in the West Bank, is a cardinal consideration in the negotiations for Shalit’s release. We want our prisoners returned, but at the same time we must minimize the risk to our citizens."
On Friday, two Palestinian terrorist groups, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, claimed responsibility for killing Hai.