Bomb Kills Israeli Girl, 17, at a West Bank Oasis

JERUSALEM — An Israeli teenager was killed and her father and brother were wounded on Friday when a homemade bomb exploded near a natural spring in the occupied West Bank, a small oasis where Palestinians and Israelis seek relief from the oppressive summer heat.

Government officials declared it an act of terrorism, and security forces set up roadblocks near Ramallah to try to catch those responsible.

The attack at Ein Bubin, a spring in the wooded hills near the small settlement of Dolev, roughly midway between the cities of Ramallah and Modiin, killed the teenager, Rina Shnerb, 17, the authorities said. She had visited the spring with her father, Rabbi Eitan Shnerb, and an older brother, Dvir. Both men suffered shrapnel injuries and were airlifted to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.

The rabbi’s brother, Shmulik Shnerb, spoke to reporters at the hospital, calling his niece, whose home was in the Israeli city of Lod, a “martyr,” saying, “May God avenge her death.”

“I was asked by her father, who is currently lying with injuries from all types of shrapnel and screws, and by her brother, Dvir, who is currently in surgery, to come and to say the following,” Mr. Shnerb said. “Everyone should know, this incident strengthens us to become stronger in the Torah of Israel, in the land of Israel and in our grip on the land of Israel, and to connect with the people of Israel from all walks of life.”

The blast was the latest in a spate of terrorist attacks and clashes over the past two weeks in Jerusalem and on the West Bank, beginning with the fatal stabbing of Dvir Sorek, 19, a yeshiva student and aspiring soldier, outside the settlement of Migdal Oz on Aug. 8.

ImageIsraeli medics and soldiers at the scene of the bomb attack on Friday. Israeli security forces set up roadblocks near Ramallah to search for suspects.
CreditEPA, via Shutterstock

On Aug. 11, Muslim protesters clashed with Israeli police officers in Jerusalem after the police allowed Jews to visit the Temple Mount on a day holy to both religions, Tisha b’Av, commemorating the destruction of the ancient Jewish temples, and Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday marking the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca.

Four days later, an Israeli police officer was stabbed in the Old City of Jerusalem, and the two teenage assailants were shot, one of them fatally. And on Aug. 16, an Israeli teenage brother and sister were injured, the brother critically, in a vehicle-ramming attack at a bus stop near the West Bank settlement of Elazar; the Palestinian driver was shot dead.

Several Palestinian militant groups praised Friday’s attack, though none immediately claimed responsibility. In a sermon at a Gaza City mosque, Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader, said it warned “the Zionists to stay away from the powder keg of Jerusalem, which is exploding and will burn whoever attacks it.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter that “the depraved terrorists” would be caught: “We’ll reach them. Israel’s long arm reaches everyone who seeks to kill us and will settle accounts with them.”

Israel has an election on Sept. 17, and Ayelet Shaked, the former justice minister who is battling Mr. Netanyahu for right-wing votes, called Friday’s attack “a punch in the stomach” that damaged the sense of security of every Israeli.

“Today it’s Dolev, tomorrow it’s Tel Aviv,” she told the nationalist news outlet Arutz Sheva.

The spring that was the scene of Friday’s explosion was also the site of a fatal attack in June 2015, when an Israeli, Danny Gonen, 25, also of Lod, was shot and killed after a Palestinian man flagged him down, ostensibly to ask about the spring, and then pulled out a gun. A 31-year-old member of the Palestinian faction Fatah was given two life sentences for the killing and for shooting another Israeli who was with Mr. Gonen.

Rabbi Shnerb, 46, was identified by the newspaper Israel Hayom as a reserve military chaplain who was decorated in February after he discovered two Palestinians hiding outside an army outpost near the settlement of Har Bracha. Religious soldiers had told him of a problem with the eruv, a cable encircling the base for religious reasons. While inspecting it, he spotted the two men and alerted troops, who detained and searched them and found a pistol and a knife.

Source: NYT

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