One Israeli was killed and two were seriously injured in a pair of shooting attacks in the northern West Bank on Sunday, the military said.
The attack began at around 9:45 a.m. near the Ariel Junction, where the terrorist assaulted a soldier with a knife and managed to gain control of his weapon, IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said.
The attacker then fired at passing vehicles, hitting a civilian in the first vehicle. A second vehicle was hit, but managed to flee the scene. A third car stopped, and the attacker, whom Conricus said “appears to be a Palestinian,” took it and fled the scene. The status of the original driver of that vehicle was not immediately clear.
Conricus said that the suspect then continued to the nearby Gitai Junction, where he shot at a soldier standing at a hitchhiking post, injuring him. He then drove to the nearby Palestinian village of Burqin, where Israeli security forces are currently in pursuit of him.
Additional forces have been deployed to the scene in a manhunt that is being coordinated with the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Police, Conricus said. He added that it was not immediately clear whether the suspect was affiliated with any terror groups or if he was acting alone.
The two injured men, one 19 and one 40, were taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, the Magen David Adom Emergency service said. The younger victim sustained abdominal and spinal injuries and was being prepped for surgery. The older victim’s condition deteriorated to critical by the time he arrived at the hospital with head injuries and doctors were fighting to keep him alive.
Medics attempted to resuscitate the third victim, but were forced to declare him dead at the Ariel Junction.
As a precaution, the army briefly ordered the closing of the nearby Barkan industrial zone as well as the surrounding northern West Bank settlements. The Palestinian villages of Jamma’in, Kifl Haris and Deir Istiya near Nablus were also sealed, the IDF said.
Palestinian media reported heavy gunfire in the village of Burqin.
In a video statement from the scene of the attack, Ariel Mayor Eli Shaviro said he had complete faith that Israel’s security forces “will do everything in their power to prevent the next attack and to capture the murderers.”
“We are building in Ariel and this will be the real answer to what has happened [here] and to everything that will happen in the future,” Shaviro added.
Ariel Junction was the site of a fatal stabbing attack just over a year ago, when a Palestinian terrorist killed Itamar Ben Gal, an Israeli father of four, as he waited at a hitchhiking post.