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Two Israelis Killed in Brutal Terror Attack; Seen as Assault on Coexistence

A Palestinian terrorist killed two Israelis and wounded a third in a terror attack on Sunday at a factory in the West Bank’s Barkan Industrial Park, hailed as an oasis of coexistence for Israelis and Palestinians, The Times of Israel reported.

The two victims of the terrorist attack have been identified as 28-year-old Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel and 35-year-old Ziv Hajbi, both parents of young children.

The suspect, named as 23-year-old Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alwa from the village of Shuwaykah near the Palestinian city of Tulkarem, was employed at the park as an electrician. He entered the factory at around 7 a.m. with a semi-automatic Carl Gustav rifle hidden in his bag, the military said.

Inside, he tied-up Yehezkel before shooting and killing her at close range. Also killed in the attack was her co-worker Hajbi, and a third person working at the industrial complex was shot and wounded, though she managed to crawl under her desk and survived.

After the attack, the assailant fled the scene, still armed with the submachine gun, the military confirmed. The attack was later determined by Israeli authorities to be an act of terror because of a suicide note left by the perpetrator, in which he reportedly left political and religious messages.

United States envoy Jason Greenblatt and ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that Sunday’s terrorist attack was an assault on peace. “The Barkan industrial center is a beacon for coexistence and a model for the future. Today’s terror attack is reprehensible and should be universally condemned. Join me in praying for the wounded and sending comfort to the families of the victims,” Greenblatt tweeted.

Friedman said on social media that the park “has been a model of Israeli–Palestinian coexistence since 1982, with thousands working and prospering together. Today a terrorist shattered that harmony by brutally murdering two Israelis at work. Our deepest condolences [go to] to the families of the victims.”

A number of European countries condemned the terror attack. France’s Ambassador to Israel Hélène Le Gal condemned the attack and wrote that her “thoughts go out to the families of the victims.” A tweet from Italy’s embassy in Israel said that it was “shocked” at the attack and added that there is “no justification for such brutal aggression.” Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to Israel Thessalia S. Shambos tweeted, “Deeply saddened by the vicious terror attack @ Barkan that took the lives of 2 Israelis incl. the mom of a baby.. A deplorable [sic] act of horrific extremism & violence – Absolutely condemnable.”

The industrial zone is home to 164 factories and employs 7,200 workers, including 4,200 Palestinians and 3,000 Israelis, according to the Samaria Regional Council which has jurisdiction over the park.

“We believe in a vision of peace,” the logistical manager of the park said after the attack. “We create real coexistence and peace here. We opened factories and invested millions of shekels.” Another worker, Yohan Cohen, said he is determined to return to work. “We are shocked but not afraid,” Cohen observed. “I will continue to come here every morning to meet with my Israeli and Palestinian friends.”

Samaria Regional Council head, Yossi Dagan, also condemned the attack but vowed the terrorist attack “will not break us.” He added: “I see Arabs and Jews here sitting and crying together.”

[Photo: Wochit News / YouTube ]