JERUSALEM, Israel – The Israeli army is calling more battalions to the Nablus area on the West Bank following a deadly terror attack that saw two Israeli brothers killed and riots in the Palestinian Authority run village of Huwara near Nablus.
On Sunday night, about 400 Jewish settlers entered Huwara, threw stones at houses, and set homes and cars on fire in a rampage of revenge that lasted more than five hours following the murder of two Israeli brothers, Hallel and Yagel Yaniv, from the nearby Jewish community of Har Bracha.
Thirty-six homes were burned, and most of the families living there had to be evacuated. Hundreds of cars, olive trees, and livestock were torched. The Palestinian health ministry said a 37-year-old man was shot and killed by Israeli fire on Sunday. The Palestinian Red Crescent said two others were shot and wounded, another was stabbed, and a fourth was beaten with an iron bar. Ninety-five people were treated for tear gas and smoke inhalation.
An IDF official told Fox News Digital the Israeli army considers the riots last night as "terror attacks." Six Jewish settlers were arrested overnight, but four of them were released by Monday morning.
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The official also acknowledged that Sunday night's violent events diverted the forces hunting the Palestinian assailant that murdered the two Israelis and allowed him to escape.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visited the scene Monday morning, and said, "We expect difficult days ahead of us. It may be here in Judea and Samaria, in the Jerusalem area, or in the Gaza region."
While hoping to restore calm, he instructed the various security forces to be on high alert and "ensure readiness to face all threats, reinforce troops and activities on the ground, and most importantly, reach and apprehend the terrorists. We will not tolerate terrorism against Israelis and will operate in every way necessary," he said.
On Monday morning, the Israeli army told Huwara Palestinian shop owners to close their shops, and residents stayed in their homes, fearing escalation.
On Sunday evening, shortly after they received the devastating news, Esti Yaniv, the mother of the two slain Israeli brothers, called for unity. She sent out an emotional voice message to the youth of their community and urged them not to avenge her sons' deaths. "We have a massive hole in our heart; nothing will ever fill this hole – not construction, not protests, nothing."
Speaking to the Israeli Knesset Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his condolences to the parents of the murdered brothers, Hillel and Yagel Yaniv. Quoting from the Book of Samuel he said, "Beloved and lovely! In life and in death they were not divided … God will avenge their blood, and we will avenge their blood."
He continued, "And when I say 'we', I mean the defense force of the State of Israel - the IDF and the security forces exclusively. They know how to do it. They do. They come to account with everyone who lays a hand on us."
Netanyahu condemned the rioters: "This is our answer to terrorism: to strike at terrorists, to strike at terrorists, and to deepen our roots in our country. But again - this is our role, that of the government and that of the security forces. We will not accept a reality in which a man who is honest in his eyes will do: setting fire to houses, burning cars, and premeditatedly harming innocents."
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Sunday's events drew broad condemnations from the International community. The European Union said it was "alarmed" by the violence, adding that "authorities on all sides must intervene now to stop this endless cycle of violence."
Tor Wennesland, the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, released a statement saying, "There can be no justification for terrorism, nor for arson and acts of revenge against civilians. All perpetrators of violence must be held accountable. Violence, provocations, and incitement must stop immediately and be unequivocally condemned by all."
On Sunday, while the shooting attack took place, a multilateral summit was held in Aqaba, Jordan, with Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, Jordanian, and American security and diplomatic representatives to find a solution for the recent escalation in the West Bank. The talks, rare in their occurrence, were comprehensive and frank.
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A joint statement released Sunday noted, "The two sides (Palestinian and Israeli sides) affirmed their commitment to all previous agreements between them, and to work toward a just and lasting peace." It also continued, "They reaffirmed the necessity of committing to de-escalation on the ground and to prevent further violence."
Israeli troops also had to remove settlers from the previously evacuated Evyatar settlement near Nablus. The settlers had decided to return and camp in the outpost.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, the leader of the Jewish Power party, called for a "real war on terrorism" and legalizing the outpost, which troops were once again clearing. He was speaking at the Evyatar outpost, strongly stating, "I understand the hard feelings, but this isn't the way. We can't take the law into our hands".
Tensions in the West Bank between Israel and the Palestinians have been growing in recent months. The last IDF raid in Nablus targeted three members of the "Lion Dens" militants, resulting in the death of 11 Palestinians and dozens injured.