First aid responders found two young Israeli brothers unconscious near their bullet-riddled car at the Hawara junction of Route 60 south of Nablus Sunday p.m. Feb. 25. Hilel Yaniv, 21, and Yigal Yaniv, 20, from Har Bracha, died before reaching hospital. One or more Palestinian gunmen shot the men while Israeli-Palestinian emergency talks for de-escalation tensions ahead of the spring festivals were underway at the Jordanian Red Sea town of Aqaba.
The victims were shot repeatedly at point blank range before the Palestinian vehicle drove off. A manhunt for the killers is in full flight with roadblocks set up around escape routes. Defense Minister Yoav Galant has ordered an urgent assessment of the terrorist situation – also with regard to resolutions expected form the Aqaba conference.
The cabinet is divided over a decision to boost Israel’s responses to the ongoing wave of Palestinian terrorism by meting out harsh measures, such as collective punishment, as to whether they would serve as a deterrent or further inflame Palestinian violence. At the same time, Hamas announced on Sunday, following the IDF counter-terror operation in Nablus that left 11 Palestinians dead, “Resistance on the West Bank will not only go on but escalate irrespective of any meetings or plans.”