Israeli forces tracked down a group of suspects behind the deadly ambush of a family car in the West Bank earlier this month and killed the man who pulled the trigger in that attack in a shootout early on Wednesday, the military said.
The July 1 attack killed Miki Mark, a 48-year-old father of 10 children, and wounded his wife and two teenage children. The military subsequently sent hundreds of troops to the area of the attack to search for the perpetrators in what was the largest operation in the territory in two years. Israel also vowed to take unprecedented steps to capture the killers.
On Wednesday, the military said that after almost a month of pursuing the perpetrators, troops closed in on the Hamas cell behind the ambush. It said troops surrounded a house near the West Bank city of Hebron where the group was hiding and called on them to surrender.
One Palestinian, believed to be the shooter who killed Mark, was killed in the pre-dawn shootout. Weapons were found on his body, the military said, adding that three others were arrested, including one who belonged to the official Palestinian security forces.
Since mid-September, Palestinians have carried out dozens of stabbings, shootings and attacks using cars against civilians and security forces, killing 34 Israelis and two visiting Americans.
During the same period, about 200 Palestinians have been killed, mainly by Israeli forces or in some cases, armed civilians. Most of the Palestinians have been identified by Israel as attackers while the rest were killed in clashes with Israeli forces.
Israel says the violence is fueled by a Palestinian campaign of lies and incitement, compounded on social media sites that glorify attacks. Palestinians say it stems from frustration at nearly five decades of Israeli rule in territory they claim for a state.