Israeli Killed in West Bank Stabbing Attack; Assailant Still at Large

Attack took place at entrance to Ariel ■ Victim identified as Itamar Ben Gal, a father of four ■ Hamas praises attack as 'resistance to Trump's Jerusalem declaration'

 Israeli soldiers search the scene of the attack outside the West Bank city of Ariel, February 5 2018
Tomer Appelbaum

An Israeli man was stabbed to death in a stabbing attack Monday outside the Israeli West Bank city of Ariel, the military said. The terrorist behind the stabbing has been identified as an Israeli Arab from Jaffa. The manhunt for 19-year-old is still ongoing, the army said.

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Itamar Ben Gal - the victim of a terror attack near the city of Ariel. Feb 5 2018
Courtesy

The man, identified as Itamar Ben Gal, 29, was treated by civilian medics and military medical forces at the scene before he was evacuated to hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds. 

In a video of the attack, the assailant can be seen getting off of a taxi van, crossing the road and then stabbing Ben Gal, who was waiting for a bus. Ben Gal then flees the scene and the assailant throws his bag on the road and continues to chase his victim.

According to Palestinian reports, Israeli soldiers raided the village of Kifl Haris in search for the attacker. A witness in the village told Haaretz that the army confiscated security camera that were in the village.

Ben Gal was a father of four from Har Bracha, a Jerusalem-area settlement. He was a teacher at religious seminaries.

A spokesman for Hamas praised the attack, saying it was "a continuation of the resistance to Trump's Jerusalem declaration." Hamas also urged the Palestinian Authority to "halt all coordination with Israel on security matters."

Israeli soldiers search the scene of the attack outside the West Bank city of Ariel, February 5 2018
Tomer Appelbaum

A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said that a “terrorist came to the hitchhiking stop at the entrance to Ariel and stabbed a civilian. An IDF officer that identified the assailant pursued him with his vehicle and hit him. The assailant fled. IDF forces are now scanning the perimeter.”

“We send our condolences to his family,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the attack. “IDF forces are in pursuit of the murderers. We will exact our judgement. These are very hard moments. The people come together at times like these. I put our faith in the security forces, who are doing an excellent job.” 

Last month, a rabbi and father of six was killed in a drive-by shooting near the West Bank city of Nablus. The man, a resident of the outpost of Havat Gilad, was killed while driving home on Route 60, the West Bank's main highway.