Terrorists arrested for West Bank murder include Shalit deal reoffender


Israel’s Shin Bet security agency announced yesterday that it has apprehended a Hamas terror cell in the West Bank, which was responsible for the murder of an Israeli man last month. The cell is directed by a Hamas member who was originally convicted for the murder of several Israelis but released as part of the agreement to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011.

The attack took place last month, as a car transporting four men travelling back from a basketball game, came under gunfire near the West Bank settlement of Shilo, north of Ramallah. One of the passengers, 25-year-old Malachi Rosenfeld, died the following day from his wounds.

Seven cell members are reported to have been arrested in a joint operation carried out by the Shin Bet, IDF and police. They apparently admitted to the attack under interrogation and also confessed to carrying out a shooting earlier last month near Bitan, also in the West Bank, which failed to cause any casualties. Most of the suspects are from Silwad, a Palestinian town located near Ramallah and they include Mu’ad Hamed, who is said to have pulled the trigger on Rosenfeld.

Meanwhile, the Shin Bet said that the cell was directed by Hamas member Ahmed Najar, who was imprisoned in 2003 for his involvement in an attack which killed six Israelis. However, he was released in the 2011 Shalit deal and exiled to the Gaza Strip. Najar is thought to have subsequently made his way to Jordan, from where he directed the attack which killed Rosenfeld.

Last week, another West Bank terror cell, this one with links to the Palestinian Authority (PA) was arrested in connection with a separate deadly shooting of an Israeli man in his twenties, just a week before Rosenfeld was murdered. Danny Gonen from the central city of Lod was shot and killed by a gunman as he returned from hiking with a friend near the West Bank settlement of Dolev.