Grief and Anger Over Terrorist Attack at Ariel

YERUSHALAYIM -
IDF soldiers in the search for the terrorist who killed Itamar Ben-Gal, Hy”d, in the village of Kifl Haris near Ariel, Monday. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

While the search for the terrorist who murdered Itamar Ben-Gal, Hy”d, 29, a father of four, at Ariel in the Shomron on Monday continued into the evening hours, Israel reacted with grief and anger.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin extended their condolences to the victim’s family in Har Bracha, also in the Shomron.

“IDF and Shin Bet forces are in pursuit of the terrorist or terrorists and we will bring them to justice,” PM Netanyahu said. “These are difficult moments, but our people come together during such times.”

Pres. Rivlin posted: “With great sorrow I heard the news of the stabbing that took place today in Ariel. We all send a hug of comfort and strength to the victim’s family.”

“I am proud of the IDF officer who pursued the terrorist and hit him with his car, and I’m confident that security forces will find him and his accomplices soon so they can face trial,” he added.

At the U.N., Ambassador Danny Danon pointed the finger of blame at the Palestinian leadership’s “policy of incitement ” and called on the Security Council to condemn the attack.

“This abominable murder is a direct result of the policy of incitement and terror financing of the Palestinian leadership,” he said in a statement.

“Instead of inviting [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] to the Security Council to spread lies and hate speech, the council must condemn this terror attack and demand that Abbas stops the incitement and the payments to the terrorists.”

Pres. Abbas is scheduled to make a presentation to the Council on February 20, as part of the forum’s monthly meeting on the Middle East. He was invited by Kuwait, which holds the rotating position of Security Council president this month.

Some local anger was directed at the Israeli security forces.

The head of Central Command, Maj. Gen. Roni Numa, was reportedly confronted by a small group of angry residents when he arrived at the scene of the attack.

“Three attacks, three murders and you guys do nothing! Go home!” one man was seen shouting at Numa, referring to a series of deadly incidents in the region.

Ariel Mayor Eli Shaviro reiterated on Monday the demand that Israel impose sovereignty in Yehudah and Shomron in the wake of the attack.

“The answer to Palestinian terrorism is the immediate imposition of Israeli sovereignty over Jewish settlements in [the West Bank],” he said in a statement.

“I call on the prime minister and Knesset members to prevent the next attack,” Shaviro says. “Implement sovereignty!”

Meanwhile, further details emerged about the tragic incident.

In contrast to most previous terrorist attacks, the perpetrator was not from one of the Palestinian towns, but an Israeli citizen from Jaffa, according to media reports.

Abd Al Karim Assi, 19, the son of an Israeli Arab man and Arab woman, used his blue Israeli ID card to spend time on both sides of the Green Line. His father lives in Shechem, his mother in Haifa.

Assi received social service assistance, including therapy in Tel Aviv, according to Hadashot news.

The terrorist’s backpack was found at the scene, facilitating identification and the manhunt. The pack contained a change of clothes and his ID card. The bag also contained a comb, hair gel, a lighter and a charger.

Monday’s killing follows that of Raziel Shevach, Hy”d, on January 9, near Shechem. He and Ben-Gal knew each other through mutual friends.

The levayah for Itamar Ben-Gal, Hy”d, was scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m. in Har Bracha.