Two terrorists committed a deadly shooting attack at the entrance to the town of Ariel.
By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner
A deadly terror attack plagued Israel’s Samaria district, over the weekend, when two Palestinian terrorists drove a vehicle to the town of Ariel late Friday night. After exiting their vehicle, they and opened fire with makeshift “Carlo” submachineguns at two civilian guards stationed at a security checkpoint.
23-year-old Vyacheslav Golev was killed while protecting his fiancé, who was also working as a security guard. The couple were both students at Ariel University. Golav is survived by his parents and seven siblings.
A manhunt was immediately launched by thousands of special operations troops in search of the assailants, who fled the scene and subsequently burned their vehicle in a vain attempt to avoid capture.
The pair were apprehended in the nearby Palestinian town of Qarawat Bani Hassan in the Salfit region within just hours of the deadly attack.
According to a statement TV7 received from the Israeli Security Agency (ISA, also known as the Shin Bet), the swift capture was attributed to “expedited intelligence and operational activity by the ISA, the IDF and the elite Israel Yamam National Counter-Terrorism Unit. Both weapons used by the gunmen were seized, said the statement, which added, “the security forces will continue to take action to deal with those involved in – and who aid and abet – terrorism to the fullest extent of the law.”
Upon announcing the arrests, IDF Ephraim Division Commander Col. Mordi Weiss declared, “We will continue to pursue and foil anyone who chooses the path of terror and harming our citizens and we will settle accounts with them in any place and time.”
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett issued his condolences to the family of the security guard who was murdered. In a statement issued by his office, the Israeli leader vowed, “There is no terrorist whom we will not reach and settle accounts. Our war with terrorism is lengthy. Together we will win.”
In remark at the start of his weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Bennett stressed the sensitivity of the week ahead, which is a continuous reminder of the unyielding struggle of the Jewish State for its right to exist.
“We are at the start of the Week of Remembrance and Independence, a week that is always tumultuous and difficult. Hardly a day goes by on which we are not reminded of our continuing fight to live in our land in security and tranquility. Over Shabbat, 23-year-old security guard Vyacheslav Golev was murdered in Ariel. Vyacheslav was murdered while using his body to protect his fiancée who was guarding the community checkpoint with him, saving her life. This wonderful couple was just beginning their life together; the heart breaks,” he said.
Prime Minister Bennett continued by highlighting the necessity to stand behind Israel’s security establishment which works day-and-night to guarantee the security of Israeli civilians and the sovereignty of the state, particularly during the recent surge of terror attacks on the nation’s public.
“This wave of terrorism requires the entire security establishment to make the maximum effort. On behalf of all of us, all ministers of the Government of Israel, I would like to again thank and back the IDF, the ISA and the Israel Police, and their leaders. These are people who have hardly seen home in many long weeks. They are on the seam line, in Jerusalem, in Jenin, in the north and in the south. We are charged with the task of defeating this wave as well. We – the Government of Israel and the citizens of Israel – must also show you our gratitude, back you and give you all the support and tools to succeed,” he said.
Palestinian terror groups were quick to praise the Ariel attack, which was claimed by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades affiliated with the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party. In a video circulate on social media, a masked terrorist referred to the killing of a “Zionist officer” as an “heroic operation.” He also vowed his group, which is also to blame for the deadly attack in Bnei Brak last month that claimed the lives of 5 people, will carry out further killings “on the path of glory and martyrdom.”
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) released a statement “saluting the heroes of the attack on the Ariel settlement, who expressed the choice of our Palestinian people to resist the occupation” and encouraged Palestinians to “expand and escalate all forms of engagement with the Zionist enemy.”
The Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza celebrated the murderous incident as a response to “Israeli police raids on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound” during recent riots at the holy site. “The decision of the Palestinian people is that the resistance is the option and the shortest way to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem,” declared Qatar-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Thousands of Hamas supporters rallied in the Gaza Strip in support of the attack, were they chanted slogans urging the terror group to bomb Tel Aviv and “blow up the heads of the Zionists.”
The Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group also lauded the Ariel attack while vowing to “continue the fight against the [Israeli] enemy.”
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) hailed the attack as “a blow to the occupation’s security system and its fortifications,” and vowed Palestinians will perpetrate “resistance in all forms until the liberation of their land.”
15 people in Israel have been killed in the wave of terror by Arab / Palestinian assailants in recent weeks.
Meanwhile during a special commemorative event at the IDF Southern Command for the fallen troops of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, Defense Minister Benny Gantz also expressed his condolences for the victim of this weekend’s heinous terror attack while pledging to act with unrelenting resolve against those who seek to target Israeli civilians.
“During these challenging days in the face of those who seek to threaten Israeli citizens, we do so (protect Israeli civilians) with military might, offensive and defensive, we’re acting in a pinpointed manner in order to cut-off terror in every place, at any hour and in against all that perpetrates it. And we are operating in an intensity which terror organizations have not experienced in the past, intensity that will gradually intensify every time when we are tested against anyone who does so (terrorism),” he said.
Jerusalem top defense official went on to stress that civilians of the Gaza Strip, West Bank districts of Judea and Samaria, Lebanon, Syria or even Iran are not the country’s “enemies” – which he went on to define as “the terror organizations and terror regimes that, first and foremost, harm Israeli civilians.”
Following a security situation assessment in the wake of this weekend’s act of terror, the Israeli Ministry of Defense imposed a full closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip ahead of Israel’s observance of Memorial and Independence Days, beginning tomorrow at 3 PM and continuing until Thursday at midnight.