Israeli forces claim they have arrested two suspects, who had earlier killed an Israeli guard at the entrance to the illegal settlement of Ariel in the north-central part of the occupied West Bank.
“After intense intelligence and operational activity by the Shin Bet (the Israeli regime’s internal security service), police special forces, and the army, two suspects were arrested this evening,” the Israeli army said on Saturday.
The pair were arrested in the Palestinian village of Qarawat Bani Hassan, northwest of Ariel, the Israeli army said after a day-long hunt.
Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the armed wing of the West Bank-headquartered Palestinian Fatah faction, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We claim responsibility for the heroic operation in the colony of Ariel in which a Zionist officer was killed,” the group said in a statement.
The statement added that the shooting took place “in response to violations committed by the occupation” in al-Quds, referring to the deadly escalation of violence by the regime’s forces in the holy occupied city during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Since last month, at least 25 Palestinians have been killed in attacks by Israeli forces across the occupied territories.
The Friday shooting saw two gunmen drive up to the entrance of the settlement, gunning down the officer at the checkpoint there.
Footage captured by security cameras in the area saw the Palestinians getting off their vehicle afterward, and riddling the guard post with bullets before driving away.
The Palestinian Authority’s health ministry, meanwhile, said a Palestinian was shot dead overnight on Friday in an Israeli army operation in the northern West Bank town of Azzun, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Ariel settlement, during an operation linked to the manhunt for the Ariel attackers.
Palestinian news agency Wafa identified the man as 27-year-old Yahya Adwan.
On Friday, thousands of people took to the streets across the regional Muslim countries and far beyond on the occasion of the International Quds Day, pledging support for the Palestinian cause of liberation from Israeli occupation and aggression, and condemning the occupying regime for its barbaric violence against Palestinians.
On Saturday, the leader of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas said all Gaza-based resistance groups should be fully prepared as the “big battle” for al-Aqsa Mosque will begin after the holy month of Ramadan if Israel does not cease its aggression at the mosque.
“The battle to protect al-Aqsa Mosque will begin after the month of Ramadan because the Zionists have a number of events when they will try to breach the mosque,” Yahya Sinwar said at a conference of Palestinian academics in the Gaza Strip.
Referring to the Palestinian people’s willingness to sacrifice their lives to protect al-Aqsa Mosque, the Hamas leader said the martyrdom operations in the heart of the Zionist regime proved that the regime is “weaker than a spider’s web.”
“Thousands of synagogues will be desecrated if the Zionist acts of storming al-Aqsa Mosque recur,” Sinwar warned after saying that the Israeli settlers storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound under the protection of Israeli troops.