Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Israel Thinks Terrorists Fled to Self-rule Areas After Killings

July 29, 1996
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Security forces were continuing to conduct a widespread search in the West Bank towns of Bethlehem and Hebron for the Palestinian terrorists believed to have carried out last week’s drive-by shooting in which three members of an Israeli family were killed.

Two of the victims, Uri Munk, 53, and his son Ze’ev, 30, were buried Sunday in their hometown of Mevo Betar, located in the Judean Hills.

Ze’ev Munk’s wife of less than two months, Rachel, 24, was also killed in the attack. She was buried Saturday night.

Uri Munk’s wife, Eliza, who was also in the car, was not injured but was treated for shock.

The two couples were traveling past Beit Shemesh about 1:15 a.m. last Friday when gunmen in what was believed to be a Subaru passed their car and opened fire with an automatic weapon, riddling the car with bullets.

The attackers are believed to have fled to the West Bank, which was soon placed under a full closure by the Israeli government.

An army spokesman said Sunday that the closure on the West Bank would be lifted the next day.

The attack took place near Moshav Tirosh, located west of Beit Shemesh, at a spot little more than a mile from the site of a similar attack last month in which an Israeli couple, Yaron and Efrat Unger, were killed.

Touring the site of the latest attack, Public Security Minister Avigdor Kahalani said Israeli security forces believed that a Hebron-based cell of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine had carried out both attacks.

Kahalani met with local residents, who reiterated their demands for better security measures in the area, whose roads are isolated and dark.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinian Authority to clamp down on all terror groups.

Netanyahu raised the terror issue during a meeting last Friday with U.S. envoy Dennis Ross, who was in Israel as part of a Middle East shuttle to assess possibilities for advancing the peace process.

The prime minister asked Ross to convey his demand when he met later in the Gaza Strip with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Netanyahu also asked Ross to pass on Israel’s demand that the Palestinian Authority cease its political activities in eastern Jerusalem.

Ross also met with Foreign Minister David Levy and Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, who said the Israeli government was readying its position regarding the redeployment of troops from most of Hebron.

The redeployment, Mordechai said, was being studied “with an emphasis on the security of the Jewish residents of the city.”

A flashpoint for repeated violence, Hebron has some 450 Jewish settlers living among some 100,000 Palestinians.

Under the terms of the Interim Agreement signed in September in Washington, the redeployment was to be carried out in March. It was postponed in the wake of a series of Hamas terror attacks against Israel in late February and early March.

Netanyahu’s willingness to carry out the redeployment is seen by Palestinian officials as a key indicator of his willingness to adhere to the accords signed by the previous Labor-led government.

The issue of trust between the two sides came to the fore Sunday, when Palestinian border police stationed at the West Bank town of Ramallah fired on an Israeli border police jeep.

The commander of Israeli forces in the West Bank came to investigate and called for the suspension of the Palestinian police involved in the incident.

Palestinian officials said the shots were mistakenly fired in the air.

Last week in the West Bank town of Kalkilya, an Israeli girl was lightly wounded in the head when a Palestinian police officer fired at her family’s car.

The policeman said he thought that the car was suspicious and ordered it to stop. He opened fire when it did not.

The girl’s father, who was driving, said he did not see the policeman.

Recommended from JTA