Widespread Search Underway for Barkan Shooter

YERUSHALAYIM -
Security forces at the scene of a shooting terror attack in the Barkan industrial zone on Sunday. (Flash90)

Police and IDF soldiers were pursuing the terrorist who carried out the terror attack in the Barkan Industrial Zone Sunday morning in the area of Tul Karem, where he is said to have absconded to. The intensive search has deployed IDF ground troops, search dogs, helicopters, and other tactics. The terrorist is known to police, and is a resident of the village of Shweka, near Tul Karem, officials said. IDF soldiers were operating there Sunday afternoon. Police at first did not classify the incident as a terror attack, following up on a rumor that he had been employed at the factory where the shooting took place, and he had returned to express his anger at being fired. Shin Bet and IDF officials later declared the incident a terror attack. Hamas cheered it on, releasing a statement saying they “praised the heroic attack, which expresses our resistance to the occupation.”

One of the victims of the deadly shooting attack has been named as Kim Levengrond Yechezkel, Hy”d, 28, of Rosh Ha’ayin. She is survived by a husband and two-year-old baby.

The second victim was identified as Ziv Hajbi, Hy”d, a 35-year-old father of three from Rishon LeTzion.

Israeli politicians of all stripes condemned the terrorist attack in the Barkan Industrial Zone Sunday morning. Speaking at the opening of Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the attack “was a very serious one, with two Israelis cruelly murdered and a third seriously injured. Security forces are searching for the terrorist. I am sure they will catch him, and I am also sure that he will be made to pay for his crime with the full force of the law.”

The attack in the industrial zone outside Ariel in central Shomron took place in a metalworking factory, when a 23-year-old terrorist entered the Alon metal shop at about 7:30 a.m., pulled out a rifle, and opened fire on two people in the office. Witnesses said that he had been summoned to repair a machine in the factory, and after doing so he returned to his vehicle and retrieved the rifle, opening fire and killing the two. A third person who heard the shots and entered the office was shot as well, and is suffering from serious injuries.

Security officials told Reshet Bet that there were numerous unanswered questions about the attack, including why the terrorist chose that specific target to attack. Another question is how he managed to smuggle the SAR 21 assault rifle he used to shoot his victims into the industrial zone, where security guards examine all vehicles and individuals entering.

President Reuven Rivlin said that he was “shocked and saddened from the terrible terror attack. This was not just an attack on innocent people living their daily lives, it was an attack on the possibility of Israelis and Palestinians working together peacefully. I call on the Palestinian leadership to condemn this horrible act and to work with us to capture the terrorist and those who assisted him.” As of Sunday afternoon, there was no condemnation issued by the Palestinian Authority.

Commenting on the attack, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that “the IDF and security forces are hunting down the disgusting terrorist who carried this out. It is just a matter of time until we find him.” Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that Israel “needs to restore fear to the Palestinians, and show that we have zero tolerance for attacks like these, as well as zero tolerance for what has been going on at the Gaza border.”

Opposition head Tzippy Livni (Zionist Camp) said that “all Israelis are one with the families of the victims, and we send our prayers to the injured that she recover soon. We rely on the security forces to find the terrorist quickly.” Yesh Atid head MK Yair Lapid said that “we cannot allow this horrible act to ruin the economic cooperation we have in Barkan.” Meretz head MK Tamar Zandberg said that she was “shocked by the murderous attack in Barkan. There are two people now who have lost their lives, and two people whose families will now experience extreme stress and loss.”

The Barkan Industrial Zone is one of the largest manufacturing areas in central Israel, with some 20,000 workers, both Jewish and Arab, employed at the many factories located there. Many of the Arab workers are residents of Palestinian Authority-controlled villages in the area.