Did Israeli Forces Kill Murderer of Rabbi Shevach, Hy”d?

IDF Soldiers at the scene of the shooting attack of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, Hy”d. (IDF Spokesperson)

Israeli security officials believe that one of the key members – perhaps the ringleader – of the gang that murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach, Hy”d, is still at large. Officials believe that he was in one of the houses that IDF and police special forces raided Wednesday night. Officials believe that they had eliminated the terrorist, but a search of the houses for his body did not yield results.

With that, Hamas said Thursday that the terrorist Israel killed Wednesday night was not Ahmed Jarar, but another terrorist with a similar name – Ahmed Ismail Muhammad Jarar, 31, who was not necessarily involved in the murder of Rabbi Shevach. Speaking to the Hamas news agency Ma’an, a top Hamas terrorist said that a total of six terrorists were killed or injured in the IDF operation, which targeted three houses in Jenin – all of them belonging to members of the Jarar clan. The report quoted the mother of Ahmed Jarar as saying that she saw IDF soldiers remove the body of the dead terrorist, but could not be sure that it was her son.

With that, Channel Ten reported Friday that security forces are now concerned that the terrorist killed was not Ahmed Jarar, but another terrorist who assisted him in the murder of Rabbi Shevach, Hy”d. An investigation is ongoing. IDF sources said that in any event, the terrorist eliminated was deeply involved in the murder, and that any other terrorists involved would be tracked down and eliminated.

The Jarars are a well-known terrorist family, and all of them have been involved in serious security crimes involving the murder of Israelis. The patriarch of the family was Nasser Jarar, a former head of Hamas in Yehudah and Shomron, who was responsible for a number of terror attacks during the Second Intifada. The elder Jarar was 44 when he was eliminated by Israeli forces in 2002. He had previously been injured in a terror “work accident,” with a bomb blowing off both his legs in 2001. Nevertheless he continued with his terror plans until he was eliminated a year later.

Among the plans he had advanced was the bombing of a skyscraper in Tel Aviv, an attack that was thwarted at the last minute, when  he was killed in an IDF operation in the northern Samaria village of Tubas in 2002.

The operation, which took place in Jenin, resulted in the elimination of Nasser Jarar and the arrests of several others involved in the murder, the IDF said in a statement Thursday. The soldiers surrounded the house in which the terror gang was in hiding, calling on them to surrender. The IDF reached the house based on intelligence that had come in over the past several days, pinpointing the location of the gang.

Forces surrounded the house with heavy vehicles and entered it, eliminating Jarar and arresting several terrorists after a pitched gun battle. Rabbi Shevach was killed earlier in January in a drive-by shooting on Road 60, near his home town of Chavat Gilad.