One of Terror Attack Victims Drove Assailants to Scene, Israel Police Say

Three people were murdered and four wounded Thursday evening in the latest in a string of deadly attacks in Israel

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Scene of the attack in the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad in central Israel, on Thursday.
Scene of the attack in the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad in central Israel, on Thursday.Credit: Moti Milrod
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

One of the three victims of Thursday's terror attack in central Israel drove the two assailants to the scene of the attack in the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad and was later murdered by them, according to police.

Four other people were injured, two of them seriously, in the latest in a string of deadly attacks in Israel.

The individual who drove the assailants was named as Oren Ben Yiftah, a resident of the central Israeli city of Lod who worked as a delivery driver. Defense officials believe that Ben Yiftah knew the assailants and that he had spoken with them on the phone before he drove them.

Police are investigating whether Ben Yiftah picked them up after they had crossed the separation barrier into Israel near the Palestinian town of Rantis in the West Bank.

In addition to Ben Yiftah, two others were killed in the attack – Yonatan Havakuk, a 44-year-old resident of Elad, and Boaz Gol, also a 49-year-old resident of the city.

Meanwhile, police announced Friday a large-scale operation to arrest Palestinians who are residing in Israel without an entry permit. The operation will involve thousands of police officers and will be led by the Border Police.

According to police estimates, the two terrorists from the Jenin area, As’ad Al-Rafa’ani, 19, and Sabhi abu Shakir, 20, knew Elad well.

Police are searching for the perpetrators, who are presumed to still be in Israeli territory. As more time passes without their arrest, however, the likelihood of their crossing into the West Bank increases.

At around 8:30 PM on Thursday, armed with an axe and another sharp object, they murdered Ben Yiftah in his car.

The two later attacked and murdered Havakuk and Gol, who were also inside their cars, and ran to an amphitheater park in the city, where they attacked and wounded others.

They encountered a security guard at the entrance to the park, who, according to eyewitnesses, tried to fire, but was hit and seriously wounded by the two.

The assailants later walked toward the park's parking lot, where they attacked two more people while in their cars. At this point they began to flee the city.

They entered a dirt area near the park grounds, and it is presumed that they went down a cliff and passed through a tangle of thorns toward the fence that surrounds Elad, which is full of gaps. They then crossed into a nearby forest.

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