One Israeli Shot Dead, One Wounded in West Bank Terror Attack

A Palestinian shot the two men near the Ein Buvin spring, close to the settlement of Dolev; group loosely affiliated with Hamas claims responsibility for attack.

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The scene of the attack near the Ein Buvin spring, June 19, 2015.
The scene of the attack near the Ein Buvin spring, June 19, 2015.Credit: Chaim Levinson

A Palestinian man shot and killed an Israeli, and wounded one other, near a West Bank settlement on Friday, in what security forces believe was a terror attack.

The victim was identified as Danny Gonen, a 25-year-old student from Lod.

The incident occurred at the Ein Buvin spring, close to the settlement of Dolev in the Ramallah area. Gonen arrived at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer without signs of life. After attempts at resuscitation failed, he was declared dead.

Visits to the spring by Israelis need to be coordinated with the Israeli army, which provides security if the visit is approved, according to an Israel Defense Forces officer in the Judea and Samaria Division who briefed reporters. He said that the two men did not coordinate the visit.

Both of the victims, two male residents of central Israel in their twenties who were travelling in the area, were in a motor vehicle at the time of the shooting. The deceased was initially critically wounded, while the second victim, who was shot in the leg, was lightly wounded. The second victim was also transferred to the same hospital.

Danny Gonen. Screenshot from Facebook.

According to the initial investigation, the two phoned a friend in Dolev after arriving at the spring to say that they intended to leave the place because of the number of Palestinians there. While returning to the Haparsa Junction, they were stopped by a Palestinian who asked them if there was water in the spring. During the conversation, the man took a pistol out of a bag and shot the two Israelis.

The 'Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisheh Brigade,' a terror group loosely affiliated with the Hamas, took responsibility for the attack, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.

The lightly wounded Israeli attempted to assist his critically wounded companion and phoned his friend in Dolev who informed the security services.

Several 9 mm cartridges were found during a search of the area, but not the gun used by the assailant. The Israel Defense Forces concluded that he had probably fled to a nearby village, resulting in military searches of several Palestinian villages in the area, particularly the neighboring village of Dir Avzia.

All those at the spring at the time of the attack were also questioned.

Aviad Hertz, a senior medic with Magen David Adom, said that when he arrived at the scene, both were lying outside of the car. Hertz said that one of the victims was not breathing and had no pulse.

"One of the medics performed CPR on the critically wounded victim. We immediately began providing life-saving medical care and advanced CPR, with the assistance of additional Magen David Adom responders who later arrived at the scene."

"A military helicopter then landed nearby, and the victim was then evacuated to the hospital in critical condition."

The IDF does not know whether the attack was planned by an organized group or was a "lone wolf" attack, according to the senior officer who briefed reporters.

He stressed that there had not been any warning of a potential attack in the area. He also said that it was unclear whether the attack was connected in any way with the Ramadan holy month, which began on Friday.

Some 90,000 Palestinians attended Friday prayer at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, he said.

"The murderous attack that occurred today is another step in the quiet and serious escalation in acts of terrorism we have witnessed in recent months," said President Reuven Rivlin in response to the attack.

"We will not accept a situation in which a young hiker has his life taken from him in the Land of Israel, because he is Jewish. Security forces will work tirelessly to bring to justice those responsible for this cruel and brutal act."

The president added that he expected to hear "clear and decisive condemnation of such criminal acts from both the Arab leadership, which bears responsibility for actions of terrorism emanating from its territory, as well as from the leaders of the Arab community in Israel."

Meanwhile. Education Minister Naftali Bennet said in response to the attack: "At a time when the world is busy boycotting Jews, the Palestinians are busy killing them."

"There is a Siamese connection of terror between the two. The Palestinians are continuing to distance themselves from the family of nations, as a society that promotes murder and terror."

Hamas welcomed the attack, saying that it supported the perpetrator, "irrespective of his organizational affiliation."

"The occupation is deluded if it thinks that it can predict the reactions of the Palestinian people in the West Bank, whether it's by an individual or an organized group," said Hamas spokesman Hassam Badran.

It was the first West Bank attack since last month, when a 20-year-old Israeli was seriously wounded and two others were lightly wounded at the entrance to the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut.

Several days before that, a 19-year-old Israeli was moderately wounded by a stabber by al-Zaim checkpoint, near the city of Ma'aleh Adumim, in the West Bank.

Photo by Yoav Yogev

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