Israeli forces kill Palestinian suspected over West Bank shooting

Sunday’s shooting north of Jerusalem was the most serious attack in the West Bank since October 7. (AP)
Updated 13 December 2018
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Israeli forces kill Palestinian suspected over West Bank shooting

  • The statement did not say if Barghouti was suspected of being the gunman or an accomplice

JERUSALEM: Israeli security forces on Wednesday shot dead a Palestinian suspected in the shooting of seven Israelis including a pregnant woman whose baby later died.
The Shin Bet security service said in a statement that a suspect named as Salah Omar Barghouti, 29, who tried to evade capture during a raid on a West Bank village was shot and killed.
The statement did not say if Barghouti was suspected of being the gunman or an accomplice. It said an unspecified number of other suspects were arrested.
The Shin Bet announcement came hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that those who carried out Sunday’s drive-by shooting near a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West bank would be found and brought to justice.
He spoke shortly after a Jerusalem hospital announced the death of the baby boy, delivered by emergency caesarean section after his mother was shot. She was 30-weeks pregnant.
“We lost a few hours ago a newborn baby, four days old,” Netanyahu said in an address to foreign media.
“We will find the killers, we haven’t stopped searching. We will find them and bring them to justice,” he said.
The newborn was buried late Wednesday on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, opposite the walled Old City.
US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt said in a Twitter message that the death was “absolutely heart-breaking.”
“My thoughts & prayers are with the family of the baby who died today as a result of the despicable terror attack on Sunday,” he wrote. “This is an attack Hamas praised as ‘heroic’.”
“The world must strongly condemn this terror and not remain silent,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, said in a statement.
The Hamas movement, which runs the Gaza Strip, saluted the shooting and in a statement said it proved “resistance” was still alive in the West Bank.
Following the attack the 21-year-old mother was reported as stable, but the Shaare Zedek hospital said Monday that her baby had taken a turn for the worse.
The child died “despite the medical efforts of the premature baby unit to save him,” the hospital said on Wednesday.
Palestinian attacks against Israelis occur sporadically in the West Bank.
Sunday’s shooting north of Jerusalem was the most serious attack in the West Bank since October 7, when Palestinian Ashraf Naalwa shot two Israelis dead in an industrial zone for a nearby settlement.


US has ‘no plan’ as Syria pullout proceeds: ex-envoy

Updated 21 January 2019
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US has ‘no plan’ as Syria pullout proceeds: ex-envoy

  • Former envoy Brett McGurk says the absence of a plan is increasing the risk to US forces
  • Trump announced the US withdrawal because, he said, Daesh had been defeated

WASHINGTON: The United States has no plan for Syria as it proceeds with President Donald Trump’s order to pull American troops out of the country, a top official who quit in protest at the policy said on Sunday.
Brett McGurk, who was America’s envoy to the US-led global coalition against the Daesh group, said “there’s no plan for what’s coming next” and this is increasing the risk to US forces.
He spoke in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” after a suicide bomber on Wednesday killed four Americans and 15 others in the northern Syrian town of Manbij. It was the deadliest attack to hit US troops since they deployed to Syria in 2014 to assist local forces against the Daesh group.
The bombing came after Trump’s announcement last month that he was ordering a full withdrawal of the 2,000 US troops from Syria, shocking allies and leading to the resignations of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as well as McGurk.
Senior US officials have since given contradictory statements about US intentions, but the Pentagon said it had begun the withdrawal, although how long it would take remained uncertain.
“The president has made that clear — we are leaving. And that means our force should be really with one mission: to get out and get out safely,” McGurk told “Face the Nation.”
But he added: “Right now we do not have a plan. It increases a vulnerability of our force... It is increasing the risk to our people on the ground in Syria and will open up space for Daesh,” another acronym for IS.
Most importantly, said McGurk, the US cannot expect “a partner” such as NATO-ally Turkey to take the place of the United States.
“That is not realistic. And if our forces are under order to withdraw, as at the same time they are trying to find some formula for another coalition partner to come in, that is not workable. That is not a viable plan.”
Trump announced the US withdrawal because, he said, IS had been defeated — something McGurk and other experts dispute.
McGurk has previously warned that the US pullout would shore up Syria’s President Bashar Assad and lessen America’s leverage with Russia and Iran.