U.S. Ambassador: Terrorist Shattered Harmony by Brutally Murdering Two Israelis

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Israeli security forces on the scene of the attack, October 7, 2018
Israeli security forces on the scene of the attack, October 7, 2018Credit: \ Moti Milrod

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said on Sunday that a deadly terror attack that killed two Israelis at an industrial area in the West Bank shattered the harmony of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence there.

Two Israelis, Ziv Hajbi, 35, and Kim Yehezkel, 29, were killed Sunday and a third, a 54-year-old woman, was wounded in the shooting, which took place in the Barkan industrial area. Barkan is one of 14 industrial areas that Israel set up beyond the Green Line where both Israelis and Palestinians work.

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"The Barkan Industrial Zone has been a model of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence since 1982, with thousands working and prospering together. Today a terrorist shattered that harmony by brutally murdering two Israelis at work. Our deepest condolences to the families of the victims," Friedman tweeted.

Israeli security forces have launched a manhunt for the suspect, who they identified as Ashraf Walid Saliman Neloah, a Palestinian man in his twenties from Shuwaykah in the West Bank. The IDF raided Neloah home and arrested indivuals suspected of aiding him.

Neloah was one of 250 Palestinian employees working at the trash recycling factory. His supervisor described him as a "normal employee" and said he did not suspect him.

According to the Israel Police, Neloah may have sought revenge against his former workplace. Based on the fact that Yehezkel's hands were tied, authorities believe that the assailant originally intended to abduct the victims.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended his condolences to the families of the slain employees earlier Sunday and said he is "sure we will bring the terrorist to justice soon" during a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

"This was not only an attack on innocent people going about their daily lives, it was also an attack on the possibility of Israelis and Palestinians coexisting peacefully," President Reuven Rivlin said following the attack. 

"I call on the Palestinian leadership to condemn this murderous attack and to use the forces at their disposal to capture the terrorist and those who aided him," Rivlin added.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said "the Israeli military and security forces are carrying out a widespread manhunt to track down the evil terrorist who carried out the terror attack in Barkan. It’s a matter of time until we get our hands on him."

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