Three Israelis fell victim to a Palestinian terror attack in the West Bank city of Ariel on Sunday, The Jerusalem Post reported. One victim, Gal Keidan, a 19-year-old soldier guarding the Ariel junction, was killed at the scene on Sunday and buried in his hometown of Beersheba on Monday morning. Two others were wounded, one of them fatally.
Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, one of the three Israeli victims, later succumbed to his wounds, after doctors at Beilinson hospital fought to save his life for almost 24 hours. Ettinger, a resident of the Israeli town of Eli, is survived by his wife and 12 children.
The attack began around 9:45 a.m. when a Palestinian terrorist, identified as Omar Abu Lila, stabbed the soldier with a knife and managed to steal his weapon. He then shot at three passing vehicles at Ariel junction, including one that belonged to Ettinger.
The rabbi’s family said that before he was wounded, Ettinger drew his gun and shot at the terrorist a number of times. “We believe he prevented a greater terror attack from occurring,” they added.
A third victim was identified by Israeli media as Alexander Dvorsky, an immigrant from Moldova. He was described as being seriously wounded.
A second car was hit in the attack, but the driver escaped unharmed. When a third vehicle stopped, the terrorist took it and fled the scene. He then continued to the nearby Gitai junction, where he shot and wounded another soldier.
A manhunt is still underway to find Abu Lila.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent condolences to the families of the Israeli victims. “These are two people that I’ve heard were wonderful,” Netanyahu said. “Our hearts are with them, the heart of the people is with the family.”
Speaking at the scene of the attack, Netanyahu explained Monday that Israeli forces were closing in on the perpetrator. “We know the identity of the attacker,” said Netanyahu. “The IDF, Shin Bet, and security forces are in close pursuit. We know where he lives, we have located his family. I have instructed [forces] to begin demolishing his home, and the preparations have already begun.”
United States envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, responded to the terrorist attack on Twitter, saying his country “condemn[s] today’s brutal attack by a Palestinian terrorist who murdered at least 1 Israeli & injured others near Ariel.”
In a follow-up comment, Greenblatt said: “Disgustingly, but not surprisingly, Hamas & Palestinian Islamic Jihad welcomed the attack & no doubt the Palestinian Authority will reward the terrorist under its pay for slay policy.”
[Photo: IsraelinGermany / Twitter ]