Three Dead, Multiple Injured in Terror Attack in Central Israel
Three people were killed and multiple injured in a suspected Palestinian terrorist attack in the central Israeli city of Elad on Thursday evening, rocking the country as it emerged from celebrations for its 74th Independence Day.
“Our enemies have embarked on a murderous campaign against Jews wherever they are,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said late Thursday, after holding a security consultation with top officials. “Their goal is to break our spirit but they will fail. We will get our hands on the terrorists and those who aid and abet them, and ensure they pay the price.”
Moshe Sa’adon, a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah, who was one of the first responders to treat those wounded on Ibn Gvirol Street, said, “Unfortunately, one of the people injured in the stabbing incident was pronounced dead at the scene. We had performed CPR on him in an attempt to save his life but were unsuccessful.”
“Additionally, together with other first responders, I treated two other people who were in critical condition and three additional people in serious condition,” Sa’adon added. “There was one person in moderate to serious condition and a number of people who sustained light injuries.”
A manhunt is ongoing for two suspects. Police spokesperson Eli Levi told Israel’s Channel 11 News there is a “very big effort” to capture them, with roadblocks erected and helicopters overhead. The public is asked to stay indoors and away from the scene of the attack.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that the closure of the West Bank and Gaza would be extended until Sunday, and the police reinforced at key West Bank crossing points.
Gantz “emphasized that the perpetrators will pay a heavy price for the attacks and for terror incitement,” his office said, and expressed his condolences to families of the victims.
Yisrael Porush, the mayor of Elad, which has a large Haredi population, told news media, “We are all praying to God, our hearts are with the injured.”
He said there were many professionals, including psychologists and social workers, on hand to help residents, many of whom are children, deal with the trauma of the event. “They’re giving everything they can,” he said.
“In these situations, you are used to calling other mayors and extending help,” Porush said. “Suddenly you find yourself in the event. It’s not easy … you just see how many good citizens are here and how they want to help.”
The killings follow a series of atrocities carried out in recent weeks by Palestinian and Arab Israeli terrorists. Most recently, Vyacheslav Golev was shot to death on April 29 by two suspected Palestinian gunmen while protecting his fiancée.
Thursday’s attack brings the death toll from the current wave of terror, which began in March, to 18 people.
“We won’t surrender to terror,” pledged Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who said the attack “horrifies the heart and soul.”
“Security forces will catch the killers and those who sent them, and bring them to justice. We will continue to fight for our independence and the security of the citizens of Israel,” he added.
Expressions of solidarity began coming in Thursday evening from world leaders, with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss declaring that “the UK stands with the Israeli people against terrorism.”
“Appalled by another terror attack in Israel, targeting innocent people as they celebrate their Independence Day,” Truss tweeted.
A Hamas spokesperson called Thursday’s killings a “brave operation that deals a heavy blow to Israel,” and said “the Palestinian nation will continue its struggle and defense of al-Aqsa Mosque by all means, and its blows will hurt Zionists and settlers everywhere,” the Yedioth Ahronot newspaper reported. In Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, sweets were distributed to celebrate the killings, the paper added.
On Wednesday, Israeli Police warned that Palestinian terrorist groups have been disseminating false information on social media regarding the Temple Mount, with the aim of stoking violence around the flashpoint Jerusalem holy site.
In late April, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar amplified claims that al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger from Israel — a charge Palestinian leaders have repeated for decades — and called on Arab Israelis to ready their guns or “cleaver, axe, or knife” in preparation for a religious war.
This is a developing story.