Arab residents of Hevron reported Friday morning that a senior terrorist was killed in the city in a clash with IDF troops. One other terrorist was killed as well, they said.
The two were later identified as Mamoun Natsha and Nashet Naim Carmi, Hamas terrorists responsible for the murders of four Jews from Beit Chaggai roughly five weeks ago. The four, one of them a pregnant woman, were shot and killed while driving home on a road near Hevron.
The two refused to comply with IDF soldiers who came to arrest them, and were shot while resisting arrest, witnesses said.
Arab media reported Friday morning that soldiers had surrounded several houses, and had arrested multiple suspects. The army was believed to be going after those responsible for the shooting.
Last month IDF Central District commander Avi Mizrahi met with the families of the shooting victims and told them that the IDF would find the attackers and bring them to justice. "We are hunting down the terrorists and we will catch them," he said. "It won't be long before we get our hands on them."
The Fatah-led PA carried out dozens of arrests in the Hevron region after the murders. However, some accused the PA of using the opportunity to go after its political opponents in Hamas, and not to truly target the killers. None of those detained by the PA were named as suspects in the shooting.
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad condemned the killings of the two terrorists, "whatever the excuses or names were," and said that killig "civilians is not the way to peace."
Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yuval Diskin warned in mid-September that Israel should prepare for the terrorist threat to increase during negotiations with the Palestinian Authority as it always has. Talks with the PA have been stopped for now due to PA Chairman Abbas' refusal to talk while Jews are allowed to build homes or engage in any construction within Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
The United States is determined to see talks resume, but Abbas has turned the decision over to the Arab League, which issued a negative statement Friday afternoon. "We will meet to formulate the beginning of alternatives within the framework that the negotiations are not bearing fruit," said Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has stated his willingness to negotiate with no preconditions.