Three Israeli Men Killed in Attack in Elad

20:00 May 5 2022 Elad (ʔelˁad)

Yonatan Havakuk, 44, Boaz Gol, 49, and Oren Ben Yiftah, 35. Published by IMEMC News.

As’ad Refa’ey, 19, and Sobhi Emad Abu Shaker, 20 Screenshot. Published by IMEMC News

The site of the attack in Elad, on Thursday. Credit: Moti Milrod Published by Haaretz

Video: Post on Haaretz

by IMEMC News
May 6, 2022

Israeli sources reported that on Thursday night, three men were killed in Elad, and four others injured, in an attack apparently carried out by two Palestinians, who were seen on security cameras in the vicinity carrying a firearm and an axe.

The three men who were killed were identified as Yonatan Havakuk, 44, Boaz Gol, 49, and Oren Ben Yiftah, 35.

Israeli police identified the two suspects in the attack as As’ad Refa’ey, 19, and Sobhi Emad Abu Shaker, 20, from Rommana, near Jenin in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

They launched a massive manhunt for the two alleged attackers throughout Israel and the West Bank.

Israeli police said in a statement, “We have special police forces in the field, Shin Bet [Intelligence Service] forces, helicopters, and other combat units. According to estimates, the two are still in the area, and we are doing everything to apprehend them.”

The Israeli military announced the extension of the closure of the Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip) until Sunday.

The Israeli military, which rules all aspects of life for the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, had imposed a closure on Tuesday in celebration of Israel’s ‘Independence Day’ on Thursday. On that day, Israelis celebrate the creation of Israel in 1948 on what was, at the time, the state of Palestine.

Israel’s creation on the land led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian residents, turning them into refugees. The town of Elad, where Thursday’s attack took place, was built atop the Palestinian town of Al Muzayri’a, which was “depopulated” by Zionist militias during the Nakba (Catastrophe – which is how Palestinians describe the displacement they experienced when Israel was created) in 1948.

The closure imposed on the West Bank and Gaza Strip includes the prevention of travel for all five million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip – both outside the Territories and between different areas internally.

Hundreds of Israeli military checkpoints installed throughout the West Bank prevent the Palestinians from traveling to work, school, or to visit relatives. The closure came in the midst of a five-day holiday celebrated by Muslims at the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan, known as Eid al-Fitr. This is usually a time of celebration and visiting relatives — but such visits and celebrations were prevented by the Israeli military’s restrictions on Palestinian travel throughout the week.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the attack and said that the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians would only lead to further deterioration and obstruct the efforts to avoid escalation and achieve peace and stability.

Abbas also denounced the serious Israeli escalation against the Palestinians, including the constant Israeli invasions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the attacks against Muslim and Christian worshipers in occupied Jerusalem that have been frequent and violent during Muslim and Christian holiday celebrations over the past month.

Abbas added that “real and comprehensive peace that achieves stability and the legitimate Palestinian rights of liberation and independence is the safest and shortest war to achieve stability and security for both the Palestinians and the Israelis, and the entire region.”

At least 47 Palestinians, including 8 children, were killed by Palestinians, and 16 Israelis (all adults) were killed by Palestinians in 2022.
Israel Palestine Timeline – 2022 Deaths

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken issued a statement just hours after the attack – before the perpetrators were identified and the details confirmed — condemning the incident as a horrific terrorist attack targeting innocent civilians. Blinken has not condemned any of the killings of 47 Palestinians, 8 of whom were children, that have taken place since the beginning of 2022.

At least 1623 Palestinians, including many women and children, have been injured by Israeli soldiers and colonizers in several parts of the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip since the beginning of 2022.

Manhunt Underway for Terrorists Who Killed Three Israelis, Wounded Four

Security official says attackers influenced by Hamas' Yahya Sinwar ■ Three victims identified as three fathers survived by 16 children ■ PM Bennett vows assailants 'will pay the price'

by Ran Shimoni, Josh Breiner, Amos Harel, Ido Efrati, Aaron Rabinowitz, and Jack Khoury for Haaretz
May. 5, 2022
Updated: May. 6, 2022 11:29 AM

Three people were murdered and four wounded in a terror attack in the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad in central Israel on Thursday, police said.

Thursday's attack, which was the latest in a string of deadly attacks in Israel, came as Israeli-Palestinian tensions were already heightened by violence at a major holy site in Jerusalem sacred to Jews and Muslims.

Police said they were searching for two suspects from a West Bank village near the town of Jenin who were staying illegally in Isarel. Israeli security forces then released the names and photos of the two suspects As’ad Al-Rafa’ani, 19, and Sabhi abu Shakir, 20, in an effort to prevent miss identification that may lead to aiding them.

"The main concern is that they will try to carry out another attack, thus the big effort by police and Shin Bet forces to put their hands on the suspects," a second official said.

Police call on the public to provide any information of the two men. Police officials believe that the two assailants are still within Israeli territory as there is no indication the two had crossed the separation barrier to the West Bank. Police forces are focusing the search effort around Elad and in a nearby forest.

Palestinian sources said that Israeli forces arrested one of the suspects' father. Sabhi abu Shakir's father was arrested near the village of Jadeidi-Makr. He was later released. According to family members, they could not reach abu Shakir since Thursday's attack. They also said that he had worked in a construction site and had no prior convictions.

The three victims in the terrorist attack were identified as Yonatan Havakuk, 44, Boaz Gol, 49, and Oren Ben Yiftach 35. Both Havkuk and Gol were residents of the city and each were fathers of five. Yiftach was a resident of the central city of Lod and was a father of six.

Two of the wounded are still in serious condition after sustaining head injuries, doctors say. Staff at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva says their lives are still in danger. They are sedated and intubated after undergoing a head surgery. The two other wounded suffered moderate and light wounds.

Witnesses told police that two assailants carried out their attacks in several areas within the city. Two attacks in an amphitheater park where many residents were spending their evening, and another on the city's main street. Both were reportedly armed with sharp weapons, one an axe and the other an axe or knife.

Police set up roadblocks and began searching for a vehicle that reportedly fled from the scene.

Thursday's attack is the seventh deadly terror attack since the current wave started a month and a half ago, leaving 19 soldiers and civilians dead.

'We will get our hands on the terrorists'

“We will get our hands on the terrorists and their supportive environment, and they will pay the price,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said after huddling with senior security officials late Thursday. The premier also offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

"We aim to get our hands on the terrorists as quick as possible," Police Chief Kobi Shabtai said after a security assessment.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, stressing that "killing Palestinian and Israeli civilians only exacerbates the situation while we all strive to achieve stability and prevent escalation." He also warned against using this incident as an excuse to carry out attacks on Palestinians by settlers or other elements.

French President Emanuel Macron called the attack "despicable" and extended his condolences to the families of the victims. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken condemned the attack. "Our hearts are with the victims and loved ones of those killed, and we wish those injured a speedy recovery," Blinken added.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi decided to extend the closure imposed on Gaza and the West Bank during Israel's Memorial Day and Independence Day until Sunday. Furthermore, the bolstering of military forces in the West Bank is expected to continue.

"I saw two terrorists yelling 'Allahu akbar' and striking with an axe," a witness, Mordechai Hachmon, said. "We were in the Torah study hall and heard the gabbai shout 'terrorist, terrorist.' We ran outside and saw him running on the path, he took a right from the gate and gave a blow to the head with the axe to everyone in front of him. The security guard got out his gun and shot at him, but missed. There were no security forces and police here."

While it is unknown whether there was any specific intelligence about the attack, there have been general intelligence warnings of potential attacks inspired by the series of attacks that began in March.

Defense officials are pointing a finger at senior Hamas figures for inciting violence, with Yahya Sinwar, the group's leader in Gaza, recently calling on Palestinians to commit attacks using "a gun, an ax or a knife."

Government officials are debating whether to take steps against Hamas in Gaza over escalating rhetoric, at the risk of a security confrontation. According to the official, Israel mulls reducing, or even bringing to a halt, entry of Palestinian workers from Gaza into Israel to send a message to Hamas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

>b> One of Terror Attack Victims Drove Assailants to Scene, Israel Police Say

Three people were murdered and four wounded Thursday evening in the latest in a string of deadly attacks in Israel

by Josh Breiner for Haaretz
May. 6, 2022 8:04 PM

One of the three victims of Thursday's terror attack in central Israel drove the two assailants to the scene of the attack in the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad and was later murdered by them, according to police.

Four other people were injured, two of them seriously, in the latest in a string of deadly attacks in Israel.

The individual who drove the assailants was named as Oren Ben Yiftah, a resident of the central Israeli city of Lod who worked as a delivery driver. Defense officials believe that Ben Yiftah knew the assailants and that he had spoken with them on the phone before he drove them.

Police are investigating whether Ben Yiftah picked them up after they had crossed the separation barrier into Israel near the Palestinian town of Rantis in the West Bank.

In addition to Ben Yiftah, two others were killed in the attack – Yonatan Havakuk, a 44-year-old resident of Elad, and Boaz Gol, also a 49-year-old resident of the city.

Meanwhile, police announced Friday a large-scale operation to arrest Palestinians who are residing in Israel without an entry permit. The operation will involve thousands of police officers and will be led by the Border Police.

According to police estimates, the two terrorists from the Jenin area, As’ad Al-Rafa’ani, 19, and Sabhi abu Shakir, 20, knew Elad well.

Police are searching for the perpetrators, who are presumed to still be in Israeli territory. As more time passes without their arrest, however, the likelihood of their crossing into the West Bank increases.

At around 8:30 PM on Thursday, armed with an axe and another sharp object, they murdered Ben Yiftah in his car.

The two later attacked and murdered Havakuk and Gol, who were also inside their cars, and ran to an amphitheater park in the city, where they attacked and wounded others.

They encountered a security guard at the entrance to the park, who, according to eyewitnesses, tried to fire, but was hit and seriously wounded by the two.

The assailants later walked toward the park's parking lot, where they attacked two more people while in their cars. At this point they began to flee the city.

They entered a dirt area near the park grounds, and it is presumed that they went down a cliff and passed through a tangle of thorns toward the fence that surrounds Elad, which is full of gaps. They then crossed into a nearby forest.
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