Four Israelis were killed and four others were wounded in a shooting attack on Tuesday near the town of Eli in the Binyamin region of Samaria.
The attack took place at the entrance to a restaurant at a gas station on Route 60 located below Eli, which is north of Ramallah and south of Nablus (Shechem). At least three of the victims were killed inside the restaurant.
One seriously wounded victim was evacuated to Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva. Two others in moderate condition and one person lightly hurt were also treated on the scene before being taken to hospitals.
An armed civilian killed one terrorist in a firefight. The masked terrorists were armed with M16 assault rifles. They abandoned a vehicle (knives were found inside) but one fled in a second, stolen, car.
The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said Tuesday night that forces located and killed the assailant who had fled the scene. Also Tuesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a security assessment with Israel’s defense and strategic affairs ministers and other senior security officials at IDF Central Command headquarters, per the prime minister’s office.
The forces tracked down the terrorist’s stolen car close to the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Tubas, northeast of Nablus. The terrorist tried to escape from the vehicle and was shot dead, the Shin Bet said.
An assault rifle used in the attack was found in the vehicle, said the agency.
Meanwhile, authorities on Tuesday night lifted a directive for residents of Eli to remain in their homes.
Netanyahu vowed to respond forcefully to the attack. “In recent months, we have already proven that we do settle the score with all of the murderers, without exception,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.
“Those who have attacked us are either in the grave or in prison, and so it will be here,” he said.
“I would like to remind all those who seek to harm us: All options are open. We will continue to fight terrorism with full force and we will defeat it,” Netanyahu said.
Three of the Israel victims were Harel Massoud, Elisha Antman and Ofer Fairman, according to i24 News.
The terrorists are part of the Hamas military wing Al-Qassam Brigades, according to i24, citing Al Jazeera. Both came from the village Urif, near Nablus.
The Hamas terrorist group praised the attack, calling it a “swift reaction to the crimes of the occupation in the Jenin refugee camp and the storming of Al-Aqsa.”
Palestinian Islamic Jihad similarly hailed the killings as “a natural response to the escalation and crimes of the occupation against the Palestinian people.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held an operational situation assessment on Tuesday evening together with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar and other officials.
Earlier, Gallant paid a hospital visit to IDF soldiers wounded in battle on Monday in Jenin, warning that “all options are on the table” to defeat Palestinian terrorism.
“I instructed the defense establishment to take proactive and offensive actions wherever there is a danger to the lives of our citizens and our forces,” said Gallant.
“We will act in any necessary way and reach anywhere in order to preserve our freedom of action. All options are on the table,” he said.
Israeli helicopter gunships struck targets in the Jenin area on Monday morning after a deadly gun battle erupted during an IDF counterterror raid.
As Israeli forces withdrew from the city with two wanted suspects in custody, a roadside bomb detonated next to an armored vehicle, wounding eight soldiers.
The Israeli airstrike, the first in Judea and Samaria since the Second Intifada in the early 2000s, allowed the military to extricate the wounded.
There are increasing calls within the government to carry out a large-scale offensive in northern Samaria to root out Palestinian terrorist groups.
National Unity Party head Benny Gantz said Tuesday that the opposition would support an Israeli military response.
“Determined and responsible actions are required, led by the security forces. We will back every correct decision of the government in the face of murderous terrorism,” he said.