At least three Israelis were killed and another three wounded when a Palestinian man went on a rampage near an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday.
The attack took place in multiple locations near the Israeli settlement of Ariel. The Israel Defense Forces and Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA) rescue service said a man first approached the security checkpoint at the entrance to the Ariel industrial zone and stabbed one person there, before running to a nearby gas station where he stabbed two more Israelis. One was declared dead on the scene while the other later died of their injuries.
The attacker then stole a car and began driving on the highway, causing a multi-car accident that killed another Israeli, the IDF said. After the crash, the attacker got out and stabbed more people, before an IDF soldier who was at the scene shot and killed him, the IDF said.
Tuesday’s fatal attacks bring the number of people killed on the Israeli side of the conflict with the Palestinians to 28 this year. That equals the number killed in 2015, the year of the so-called stabbing intifada, and makes this the deadliest year on the Israeli side since then, according to Israeli Security Agency data.
This year has also been the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2015. At least 146 Palestinian civilians and militants have been killed in the West Bank in 2022, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Israel claims most Palestinians killed were either suspected militants being targeted in raids or people engaging in violence against its troops, but dozens of unarmed civilians have been caught up as well, according to human rights groups.
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The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the attacker as Muhammad Murad Sami Souf, 19, from the Palestinian village of Haris, not far from Ariel where the attack took place.
Searches are ongoing for a second person “suspected of aiding a terrorist,” the IDF said.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid condemned the “despicable terrorist” who carried out Tuesday’s attack.
“We are fighting terrorism relentlessly and with the full force of the IDF, the Shin Bet and all the security forces. In recent times we have succeeded in dismantling broad infrastructures and organizations, but we have to wage this war every day anew. Our security forces work around the clock to protect the citizens of Israel and attack the terrorist infrastructure anywhere and anytime,” the outgoing prime minister said in a statement.
Tuesday’s attack comes a day after Palestinian authorities said a 15-year-old girl was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers while riding a car with a man who was later arrested by security forces.
According to the IDF, during “counter terrorism activity” in the West Bank town of Beitunia,”soldiers identified a suspicious vehicle approaching them. The soldiers signalled the driver of the vehicle to stop, but he accelerated toward them. In response, the soldiers shot at the vehicle. Hits were identified. The incident is under review.”