Ariel assailant who killed father of four identified as Israeli citizen
The assailant responsible for the stabbing incident that killed an Israeli man on Monday close to the West Bank settlement of Ariel, has been identified as an Israeli citizen and is said to be a resident of the city of Jaffa south of Tel Aviv, Hebrew media reported.
The unnamed man, who is currently on the run, holds Israeli citizenship. According to the Times of Israel, his father is a Palestinian from the West Bank city of Nablus and his mother is an Israeli from Haifa.
The Magen David Adom emergency medical service said that it arrived on scene and provided initial care to a man, reported to be a local security guard in his 30's or 40's, who suffered stab wounds to his upper body. He was taken to the nearby Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikhvah for further treatment, where he was pronounced dead.
MDA Medi-Cycle Rider Mordechai Yaakov: "When I arrived at the scene I joined the IDF Medical team and provided medical treatment to a 30 year old who was unconscious with a stab wound in his upper body. We performed CPR, gave drugs and stopped the bleeding." pic.twitter.com/CPWDFsjO6X— Magen David Adom (@Mdais) February 5, 2018
The victim was later identified as Itamar Ben-Gal, 29, a father of four from the settlement of Har Bracha close to the incident.
The Israel Defense Force (IDF) and Israel Police confirmed the stabbing was a terror attack, and said that searches were underway to apprehend the Palestinian assailant who managed to flee the scene.
An IDF officer reportedly struck the Palestinian assailant with his vehicle while he pursued him, but the attacker managed to escape.
Arriving at the scene of the incident, a group of settlers confronted the Central Command Maj. Gen. Roni Numa blaming him for the lax security referencing three recent attacks in the West Bank.
“Three attacks, three murders and you guys do nothing! Go home!” one man was seen shouting at Numa, the Times of Israel reported.
Mayor of Ariel, Eli Shaviro called on the government to impose "immediate" sovereignty in the West Bank stating that this was "the answer to Palestinian terrorism."
Similar calls for extending sovereignty over portions of the West Bank were made following the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach last month who was shot dead by a Palestinian assailant in the outpost of Havat Gilad. On Sunday, Israel's cabinet unanimously voted to legalize the settlement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing a Likud faction meeting on Monday sent his condolences to Ben-Gal's family and vowed to bring justice to the assailant.
"We will bring him to justice, as we always do. I put my trust in the security forces who do the hardest work against these disgraceful attacks," Netanyahu urged.
His words were echoed by President Reuven Rivlin who tweeted, "with great sorrow I heard the news of the stabbing that took place in Ariel today. We all send a hug of comfort and strength to the victim's family."
"I am proud of the IDF officer who pursued the terrorist and hit him with his car, and I'm confident that security forces will find him and his accomplices soon so they face trial," Rivlin added.
Deeply saddened by the news of the criminal terror attack at the entrance to Ariel, where Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal a teacher, an educator, was murdered. We all send comfort and strength to his widow, his four young children, his family and his students, who will never forget him.— Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) February 5, 2018
I am proud of the IDF officer who pursued the terrorist, and am confident that the security forces will find all those responsible and bring them to justice.— Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) February 5, 2018
The Islamist Gaza-based Hamas group has praised the stabbing attack stating that it is "proof that the al-Quds [Jerusalem] intifada [uprising] continues."
The attack is the latest in a string of stabbing incidents since US President Donald Trump's widely-contested decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Twenty Palestinians and two Israeli's have been killed amid the violence that followed.
Hamas leaders urged the Palestinians to start an uprising in response to what they view as a "flagrant violation of international law." Whilst Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly condemned the move and has reiterated that Jerusalem is "not for sale."
Meanwhile, Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon called on the UN to "unequivocally condemn" the attack and attributed it to "incitement and payments to terrorists by the Palestinian Authority."
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Expel the whole family and get the assassin in jail until death with no possibility of freedom.