17-year-old Israeli Murdered in West Bank Terror Attack; Father and Brother Wounded

Manhunt underway for suspects after improvised charge explodes in spring near settlement of Dolev ■ Israeli army blocks roads in villages near Ramallah, Palestinians report

Rina Shnerb and the scene of the explosion near the West Bank settlement of Dolev, August 23, 2019
Gil Cohen Magen

■ Rina Shnerb, 17, was killed by an explosive device in a West Bank spring 

■ Her father, 46, and brother, 21, were taken to hospital with moderate to serious wounds.

Rina Shnerb.

■ Israeli army boosts forces, sets up checkpoints and launches manhunt

■ Hamas leader: This is a message to Israel to stay away from the powder keg called Jerusalem

A 17-year-old Israeli was killed in an explosion near the West Bank settlement of Dolev on Friday caused by an improvised explosive device, the Israeli army said. She was hiking with her father and brother, who were moderately and seriously wounded, respectively.

>> Read more: West Bank violence would erupt before Israeli election, security officials believe | Analysis

According to the military, it remains unclear whether the charge was hidden at the site of the explosion or thrown at the family that was hiking there. The army has ruled out the possibility that the charge was hurled out of a moving vehicle and said it appeared the device was home-made.

An Israeli army helicopter flies over the West Bank settlement of Dolev, August 23, 2019
Dolev Spokesperson

A military helicopter evacuated the wounded - the 46-year-old father and his son, aged 21 - to Hadassah hospital in Ein Kerem. The father is said to be conscious and in moderate condition, while his son suffered bruises and wounds to his entire body. The son is sedated and on life support.

Rina Shnerb was pronounced dead at the scene. Hundreds attended her funeral in the afternoon in her hometown of Lod, where her family runs a charity center that provides clothes and food to hundreds of impoverished families.

The explosion took place at a popular tourist and recreational site that is particularly crowded with visitors on weekends and holidays.

"Many forces were deployed to the area. The head of central command, the division commander, and other commanders are in the field and conducting an assessment of the situation. IDF troops are scanning the area, blocking roads and are boosting security in the area," the army said.

Palestinian reports confirm roadblocks near villages surrounding Ramallah. 

Defense sources said that the explosive device that was used was large, forceful and required advanced knowledge and skill to assemble. However, it has yet to be determined if the incident is tied toa major organization. 

Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh commented on the attack, saying "We warned Israel not to hold this election campaign at the expense of our historic right as the Palestinian people."

Haniyeh described the West Bank as a "volcano that will erupt in any case in which Jerusalem is under attack," and said the explosion in Dolev tells Israeli leaders to "stay away from the powder keg called Jerusalem."

He commended the man who executed the attack, calling his action "heroic" while stressing he doesn't know him.

The explosion took place at a local spring in the settlement of Dolev. The site is a popular tourist and recreational site that is particularly crowded with visitors on weekends and holidays.

The Israeli army generally has a security presence at the spring during peak hours. At this point, it is unclear if there were army forces present in the area at the time. The matter is being investigated.

Over the past few weeks there has been an increase in the number of attacks and attempted attacks in the West Bank, some of which were connected to Hamas.

Two of the more serious incidents occurred in the Gush Etzion region. They include the stabbing death of Dvir Sorek near the settlement of Ofra and a car ramming attack, which wounded a brother and sister near the settlement of Elazar.

Security officials assess that there is a probable risk of a widespread outbreak of violence in the West Bank, possibly before Israel's September 17 election.

The success of the recent attacks show, as in 2014 and 2015, that copycat attacks can be expected, all while religious controversy roils in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.