The dual-United States citizen was shot to death by Palestinian gunmen near the Beit Ha’Arava Junction near the Palestinian West Bank city of Jericho last night.
By Erin Viner
Elan Ganeles, 27, was killed after sustaining a gunshot to his upper body when his vehicle was sprayed with bullets. Originally from Connecticut where he was very active in the Jewish community, he volunteered to serve as a ‘lone soldier in the Israel Defense Forces,‘ rising to the rank of sergeant. After volunteering on an Israeli kibbutz, he returned to the United States in 2018 to complete his graduate degree. He was in Israel to attend a wedding.
First responders who arrived at the scene found the victim unconscious and a rescue helicopter was scrambled to transport him to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem where he was pronounced dead shortly after, said the United Hatzalah paramedic service.
Two other vehicles were also shot several times, but passengers were unharmed. The suspects reportedly encountered a police force who opened fire at them, and one is believed to have been hit.
The assailants, who have so far evaded capture, set fire to the vehicle used in the attacks and then used another to flee in the direction of Jericho.
A massive manhunt for the suspects is underway. IDF soldiers are conducting searches and setting up roadblocks and checkpoints in the area.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement expressing heartfelt condolences on behalf of all the citizens of Israel to the Ganeles family, who will travel to the US to bury their son in Israel.
Opposition leaders also expressed dismay over the murder.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid wrote on social media, “The heart is broken, Elan Ganeles, only 27 years old, an Israeli American who volunteered in the past for the IDF, came to Israel for joy and his life was cut short by despicable terrorists. I send my condolences to his family and friends in Israel and Connecticut in their most difficult time.”
Expressing confidence that “the security system will capture the terrorists, come to terms with them and make sure that they end up in prison or in the grave,” former Defense Minister, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz said he “shares the heavy sorrow of the Ganels family for the disaster which befell them.” He added that Elan “was a passionate Zionist, volunteered for service in the IDF and worked for Jews throughout his life. It is simply unimaginable that a person comes to Israel for a wedding and is murdered by brutal terrorists.”
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad predictably congratulated the assailants for their “courage,” while pledging to continue “resistance operations.”
The latest deadly Palestinian attack follows the murders of Israeli brothers Hillel and Yagel Yaniv, who were shot at point blank range while stuck in traffic at the West Bank town of the flashpoint Palestinian town of Huwara, north of Ramallah and south of Nablus. They were laid to rest in Jerusalem yesterday.
In related developments, this morning United Hatzalah volunteers treated an infant who sustained “light injuries” during a rock throwing attack on the car she was traveling in on Highway 485 near Ein Sima.