Palestinian Man Kills 4 Israelis In West Bank, Injures Several Others

The Palestinian terrorist attack took place near the Israeli settlement of Eli in West Bank, north of the city of the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

Israeli security forces personnel in an operation

A Palestinian man killed four Israelis and injured many others on Tuesday in a terrorist attack near the Israeli settlement of Eli in West Bank. 

The attacker was shot by Israeli security personnel at the site. The personnel are searching for other attackers near the Israeli settlement.

The state of the attacker is not yet clear. Photos are in circulation of a man lying face-down beside a gun appearing to be an M16 rifle.

The attack is the latest episode in the heightened violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians that has been going on for over a year now. The period has been marked by a series of Palestinian attacks against Israelis and near-daily Israeli raids in West Bank that too have resulted in a high number of casualties, though a large number of the dead have been members of terrorist and militant groups. 

What do we know of the shooting?

A Palestinian attacker opened fire at a gas station near an Israeli settlement of Eli north of the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

Four people were killed in the attack and several others were injured. The Israeli government has termed the attack an act of terror.

The Associated Press reported, "The Israeli rescue service said it had evacuated two seriously wounded men, ages 20 and 38, to nearby hospitals for treatment. It said that four more people were wounded at the scene, three of them unconscious. The identities of the victims were not immediately clear."

The Times of Israel (ToI) reported that at least two gunmen were involved in the attack. The Israeli military tweeted that it is searching for any additional attackers involved.

The ToI cited Palestinian media outlets as reporting the attacker shot at the scene to be Muhannad Faleh, 26, from the Nablus area. However, there was no confirmation of the same by Israeli security agencies even as photos of the identity card of the attacker circulate on social media.

Visuals of sweets being distributed in celebrations of the attacks in Palestinian settlements. Similar scenes of sweets-distribution and firecrackers have followed previous attacks on Israelis as well.

The attack on Israelis in West Bank comes after some of the fiercest fighting was witnessed in West Bank lately that led to deaths of six Palestinians and injuries to several Israeli soldiers. At least two of the six killed were terrorists of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group. Palestinian militants detonated a large bomb and, for the first time in years, Israeli forces pressed in helicopters into the assault.

The fierce fighting in West Bank

The Palestinian settlement of Jenin in West Bank on Monday witnessed what the Associated Press (AP) called the "fiercest fighting in years".

The Israeli forces entered the settlement in pursuit of two wanted militants in the early hours of Monday and faced stiff resistance by Palestinian militants. The terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, committed to the destruction of Israel, said it was involved in the fighting.

"Palestinian militants said they ambushed Israeli armoured vehicles with explosive devices, disabling several vehicles with troops trapped inside...Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht described Palestinian militants' use of at least one powerful roadside bomb as 'very unusual and dramatic'. Five mangled vehicles were stuck in the firefight for hours, requiring the military to dispatch helicopters as part of an elaborate evacuation operation," reported AP. 

In a first in several years, the Israeli forces pressed in helicopter gunships into the assault.

The AP reported, "The local branch of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad based in Jenin said its fighters opened fire at the combat helicopter. The group praised the militants and warned Israel to 'reconsider its calculations before its soldiers set foot on Jenin's land'...Islamic Jihad claimed two of the dead as its fighters — Qais Jabarin, Qassam Abu Sariya and Ahmed Daraghmeh."

The PIJ is a terrorist group that's committed to a singular Palestinian state in the region and the destruction of Israel. It is the second-largest Palestinian terrorist group after Hamas that controls Gaza Strip. 

"PIJ is dedicated to eradicating Israel and establishing an autonomous Islamic Palestinian state in the lands currently comprising Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. PIJ believes that the land of Palestine is consecrated for Islam, that Israel usurped Palestine, and, therefore, that Israel is an affront to God and Islam and that Palestine’s re-conquest is a holy task," notes think tank Counter Extremism Project (CEP), adding that the PIJ does not participate in the political process.

In the Jenin fighting, the AP reported that a Palestinian cameraman was also injured and that Israeli personnel were seen firing directly at him.