Gunfire exchanged as Israeli forces search for shooting suspect

'Gunfire exchanged' as Israel forces search for Tapuah Junction shooting suspect
2 min read
05 May, 2021
Shots were reportedly exchanged in a town in the occupied West Bank where the suspect was initially believed to be.
Israeli forces encircled a home in the West Bank's Aqraba [Anadolu/Getty-file photo]
Shots were fired on Wednesday in the search by Israeli forces for the suspected gunman held responsible for Sunday's drive-by shooting at the occupied West Bank's Tapuah Junction checkpoint.

Israeli media outlet Haaretz initially stated that a home in Aqraba, a West Bank town close to Nablus, was encircled by Israeli soldiers and that shots were exchanged.

At the time, it was believed the suspect was inside the building.

The Israeli daily added that locals said they heard blasts and shots being fired and saw smoke.

The Jerusalem Post said the scene was the subject of an hours-long "live feed" on Facebook.

By midday, the Israelu daily reported that the suspect was not present at the scene.

Read more: Palestine in 2020: Reflections on a turbulent year

Muntassir Shalabi, a US passport holder according to Palestinian outlets, was named as the suspected gunman by locals in Turmus Ayya, the town Haaretz reported he is from.

Family members of the accused have rejected claims he participated in the attack, the outlet added.

Israeli authorities reportedly arrested Shalabi's son, aged 17, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The newspaper said his wife was also taken into custody on Wednesday and subsequently released.

It added that Israeli operations in and around Aqraba have been "house to house" and that "dozens of Palestinians" have been detained on allegations they assisting Shalabi with accommodation, for instance.

The shooting, which took place at a bus station in Tapuah Junction, left one student in a "critical condition".

The three injured were all 19-years-old and attended a yeshiva, or Jewish religious school, in Itamar, an Israeli settlement, Haaretz reported.

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