A note left by the Palestinian assailant who killed two Israelis and wounded a third in a West Bank factory on Sunday has led security forces to conclude that the shooting was a terror attack.
The assailant was identified as Ashraf Walid Saliman Neloah, a 23-year old from the West Bank village of Shuwaykah who worked at Alon recycling plant, where the attack took place. Before carrying out the deadly shooting, Neloah gave a coworker a note in which he said he planned to commit suicide and praised late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The two victims were identified as Kim Yehezkel-Levengrond, a married 29-year old with a young son who worked in the recycling plant's financial department, and Ziv Hajbi, a 35-year-old married father of three who worked as an accountant at the plant. Hundreds attended Yehezkel-Levengrond's funeral on Sunday evening. Hajbi will be laid to rest on Monday at noon.
Security forces raided Neloah's home, interrogated his relatives and arrested suspected accomplices. Neloah's father said an older brother was arrested in the raid. The suspect himself has yet to be found.
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“He was a quiet guy who didn’t look for trouble,” said the father, who works in Israel. “I don’t know what came over him. He may have had an argument with someone there and decided to do what he did. As of now we know nothing about the circumstances. I was very surprised by what happened; there was no sign he was planning such a thing.”
The father denies the possibility that a family dispute led him to commit the attack or that the act had any religious motivations.
“There was no significant dispute or atmosphere that pushed him to this,” he said. “A few months ago he had a fight with his brother, but that ended and he started to work in the factory in Barkan. I think this had to do with work. If he’d wanted to die, he wouldn’t have fled and he wouldn’t be hiding.”
Neloah had been working as an electrician in the plant for the past four months. People at the plant said he’d been absent from work for the past two weeks. According to witnesses, Neloah arrived at work at 7 A.M. on Sunday morning and took a rifle and cable ties from his office. He then went up to the office where Yehezkel-Levengrond sat and tied her hands before shooting her, leading investigators to suspect he may have intended to take hostages.
A worker in an office adjacent to Yehezkel’s heard something unusual and when she came to have a look, the gunman shot her in the stomach. The wounded woman managed to get back to her office, where she hid under the desk until rescuers came. Neloah then allegedly shot Yehezkel twice.
Hajbi, who tried to flee when he heard the shots, was also fatally shot.
Neloah then encountered another worker, who drew his pistol and tried to shoot him, but missed. Neloah tried to fire back at the worker, but his rifle jammed and he fled.