A 40-year-old Israeli man was killed on Sunday in a stabbing attack at the entrance to a mall near the West Bank's Gush Etzion Junction. The victim was identified as Ari Fuld, a father of four from the West Bank settlement of Efrat.
The incident took place in the Harim Mall, close to the Kfar Etzion settlement. The victim shot the assailant, a 17-year-old Palestinian hailing from the West Bank village of Yatta near Hebron, who was later identified as Khalil Jabarin. The attacker is currently hospitalized in moderate condition.
Fuld was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem with injuries to his upper body before succumbing to his wounds. Thousands attended Fuld's funeral in Kfar Etzion.
A source close to the Jabarin family said that the attacker informed his parents that he planned on carrying out an attack at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The family said it informed Palestinian security forces, but those were unable to locate him in the tomb's vicinity.
Jabarin's mother said after the attack that she came to a checkpoint in the Southern Hebron Hills, where she turned to Israeli soldiers and warned them that her son intends to carry out an attack. The army confirmed her account, but said that she came to the checkpoint several minutes before the attack took place and say that her son carried out the attack while she was there.
The Shin Bet security service is expected to interrogate the family members of the attacker. Israeli troops are expected to operate in Yatta, where the terrorist lived, in order to trace his steps and check whether he had any partners who influenced him.
Nonetheless, defense officials clarified that often Palestinian security entities handle such situations by themselves without involving the Israeli authorities.
Fuld was a member of a faction within the Habayit Hayehudi political party, a religious-Zionist political party. Fuld's brother, Eitan, is the spokesman for MK Bezalel Smotrich from the same party.
"Ari loved Israel and fought for it. He was an honest man, caring and gentle. He worked for the Land of Israel with every bone in his body," the party wrote in a statement.
Ari Fuld immigrated to Israel from the United States and was a right-wing pro-Israel advocate. He lived in Efrat, a settlement outside of Jerusalem that is especially popular among religious nationalist American immigrants.
Fuld was active on Youtube and Facebook and co-hosted a show on i24, an Israeli English-language cable station. Among the videos he posted was a series called: “Ari Fuld: Fighting Action with Truth.”
His younger brother Hillel Fuld who also describes himself as a tech vlogger and blogger, tweeted: "He lived as a hero and died as a hero. My big bro is gone. Thanks for the messages. Really. Just looking for oxygen now."
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman spoke out on Sunday after the attack, taking to Twitter to state that "America grieves as one of its citizens was brutally murdered by a Palestinian terrorist."
Friedman sent his condolences to Fuld's family and lauded him as a "passionate defender of Israel" and "an American patriot" who "represented the best of both countries."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted on Facebook after the atteck: "In the name of every citizen of Israel, I send my condolences to the family of Ari Fuld, who was murdered today in a terrorist attack in Gush Etzion. With his last strength, Ari fought heroically against the terrorist and prevented a greater tragedy. Ari was a wonderful father to four children. He was an advocate for Israel who fought to spread the truth about Israel. May his memory be a blessing."
The incident is the second such incident to have occurred in the West Bank over the past few months. In July, a 31-year-old Israeli was killed and several were wounded in a stabbing attack in Geva Binyamin after a Palestinian assailant snuck into the settlement.
Noa Landau contributed to this report.
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