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Woman killed two days after father and son killed

JERUSALEM (JTA, TPS) — An Israeli woman was killed and her driver injured in a terrorist drive-by killing outside Hebron on Monday, Aug. 21, the latest in a string of deadly attacks in the West Bank that included the killing on Aug. 19 of a father and son in Huwara and other Israeli civilians earlier in the summer.

Israeli security forces secure the scene of a shooting attack on Route 60, near Hebron, in the West Bank, Aug. 21, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Shay Nigreker, 60, and his son Aviad Nir, 28, were traveling to the Palestinian town from their home in Ashdod to do errands when they were shot to death at a gas station.

The town was the site of riots by Jewish West Bank residents in February after Palestinians there shot to death two Jewish brothers.

The victim of Monday’s shooting was identified as Batsheva Nigri, 40, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Beit Hagai.

She was riding in a car on Route 60, the highway that runs the length of the West Bank. Her young daughter was in the car but was unharmed, according to local reports.

Two brothers who were arrested in Hebron on Monday night for the murder of Batsheva Nigri were Hamas operatives sources in Hebron told TPS.

Mohammed and Sarker Shantir were among 32 Palestinians arrested in Israeli counter terror operations in the West Bank overnight.

Palestinian sources say that Hamas operatives in Hebron are “waking up” under a Hamas decision to carry out more terror attacks in southern Judea with the goal of relieving Israeli military pressure on Palestinian terror groups in Jenin and northern Samaria.

Hamas is trying to build up its rocket-production infrastructure in the Jenin area with Iranian guidance.
Sources in Hebron also dismissed a claim of responsibility by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is aligned with the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party.

“This is not the first time that the organization takes responsibility for operations it did not carry out,” TPS was told.

“This is within the framework of the competition between the Palestinian organizations for the heart of the street.”

A Flood of Firearms

The Palestinian ability to carry out attacks is enhanced by the enormous quantities of firearms flooding the area.

The guns are being smuggled in from Jordan, produced in Palestinian workshops and stolen from IDF bases in southern Israel. On Aug. 1, Israel announced that it would build a new security barrier on the border with Jordan, in an attempt to stop the flow.

The July 5-6 Jenin operation launched by the IDF saw hundreds of weapons seized by security forces, and Israel will continue to launch such operations at various scales.

According to the military source, for every successful terrorist attack on average some 10 are foiled by Israel, providing a glimpse into the extent of the threat.

The instability of the Palestinian Authority, the ability of Hamas to exploit it, and friction between Palestinians and Israelis are all contributing to the strain on the IDF’s efforts.

Israel meanwhile is continuing its policy of allowing some 150,000 Palestinians who have passed security screening to work in Israel, as part of its targeted approach that seeks to differentiate between terrorists and civilians, and to decrease the ability of Hamas to use its murderous incitement to recruit even more attackers.

At the same time, the IDF is under pressure from Israeli civilians to show better results and to bring down the number of attacks.

Israel’s round-the-clock counter-terrorism effort is up against a network of hostile actors involving local gunmen supported by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Iran, with the latter three pouring cash and incitement as fuel onto the fire.

Iran, for its part, is implementing a decision taken around a year ago to transfer its conflict with Israel into the West Bank and the streets of Israel, after its failure to respond to a series of blasts and incidents on Iranian territory that it blamed on Israel.

Iran is strengthening its support for its proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon, while in the West Bank it is working to inject more cash for weapons production and for destabilizing the arena.

The three recent murders come amid a surge in violence in the West Bank and Israel, which has included Palestinian shooting attacks like the ones this week, attacks by Palestinians within Israel and frequent Israeli military incursions into Palestinian cities to destroy terrorist cells.

Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, has reportedly called an emergency meeting focused on the violence on Monday.

The Israeli government is divided over how to tackle the violence, with members of far-right parties, including Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, urging a harsher response including the demolition of homes belonging to the families of Palestinians identified as having committed attacks.

“We prefer terrorists in the grave and not in prison,” Tzvi Sukkot, a member of the Knesset from Ben-Gvir’s party, said in response to the Aug. 19 shooting.

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