Officials: Barkan Terrorist May Be in Shechem

Security forces at the scene of a shooting attack in the Barkan industrial zone on Sunday. (Flash90)

Three days after the terror attack at the Barkan industrial zone that saw two Israelis killed, IDF soldiers were still combing through Yehudah and Shomron on a search for the terrorist, 23-year-old Ashraf Nalaweh. Security forces have made numerous arrests in the case, including arresting family members, but they have yet to discover where Nalaweh went after the attack, or where he is holed up.

Reconstructing the aftermath of Sunday’s attack, in which Ziv Hajabi, Hy”d, and Kim Levengard Yechezkel, Hy”d, were murdered, Nalaweh was last seen sprinting from the building where the murders took place – the Alon Metalworks factory, where he had been employed as an electrician. Officials believe that he may have flagged down a ride, or had a vehicle waiting for him, ending up in Shechem, where a sister of his lives. The sister was questioned and is being held by authorities, but apparently yielded no updated information on Nalaweh’s whereabouts.

Security officials told Hadashot News that one of the challenges in finding the terrorist is that he apparently acted as a “lone wolf,” without an organization like one of the major terror groups behind him. Thus, he has his own network of people assisting him, who are apparently not known to operatives of terror groups Israel has questioned, or informants Israel works with.

He is considered armed and dangerous, but officials believe it is only a matter of time. “He can’t hide out forever, and when he surfaces we will be there to capture him,” security officials told Hadashot News. “We are keeping the pressure on to make sure he runs out of options and is unable to organize a long-term effort to remain underground.”

Security officials told Yediot Acharonot that Israel is fully coordinated with the Palestinian Authority in the search for Nalaweh. “We are sharing information about where he may have gone, and the PA police are looking for him in order to arrest him as well. It is likely that the terrorist will prefer to turn himself in to PA authorities, perhaps believing that they will not turn him over to Israel.”

In the attack, Nalaweh murdered Hajabi and Yechezkel in the company’s offices. Nalaweh arrived for work at 7:30 Sunday morning, carrying with him an assault rifle hidden under his clothing. As a regular employee with a work permit, he was admitted to the grounds of the industrial zone without too much scrutiny, security officials told Yediot Acharonot.

Nalaweh went to the factory’s second floor to fix a problem, but when he saw several workers he went back downstairs, now brandishing his weapon. Witnesses said that he took some plastic ties from a worker on the first floor, and went back upstairs to carry out his attack. He then ran towards Yechezkel, who was sitting at a desk at the end of the hall. According to some accounts, he tied her hands with the plastic ties, and shot her. He then ran to one of the offices on the floor and shot Hajabi, before running downstairs and out of the building.

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