Israelis killed in terror spree

Three Israelis were killed and as many as five others sustained severe injuries in a combined stabbing and vehicular attack this morning in the city of Ariel in the heart of the Samaria region.

By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner

The deadly attack initially began at the entrance gate of the Ariel Industrial zone in the West Bank, where a knife-wielding Palestinian stabbed a number of civilians.

The assailant then continued his attack by stabbed additional civilians at a nearby gas station. He then fled the scene in a stolen vehicle, which he deliberately rammed into another car, before disembarking and stabbing yet another Israeli civilian.

The killing spree ended when an IDF soldier driving near the attack disembarked and opened fire at the terrorist, who succumbed to his wounds a short time later.

Military helicopters evacuated all of the wounded Israelis to hospitals for medical care.

The terrorist has been identified as an 18-year-old resident of the West Bank town of Hares, who was not known by the defense establishment for any previous security-related offenses. Several of his family members have been arrested for questioning as part of an investigation into circumstances of the abhorrent attack.

“The citizens of Israel awakened today to a difficult and painful morning” due to “a heinous terrorist attack” carried out by “a despicable terrorist,” said outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

After expressing condolences to the families of those murdered and his best wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded on behalf of the Government and State of Israel, Prime Minister Lapid stressed, “we are relentlessly fighting terrorism with the full might of the IDF, ISA (Israel Security Agency, Shin Bet) and all the security forces.”

Even though “we have recently succeeded in dismantling extensive terrorist infrastructure and planning,” the outgoing Israeli leader underscored, “but we must fight this war every day anew. Our security forces are working around the clock to protect the citizens of Israel and target terrorist infrastructure anytime, anywhere.”

Also commenting on the incident, presumed incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered prayers “for the well-being of those injured in the horrific attack,” while pledging to “reinforced the security forces operating on the ground.”

Following a situation assessment at the Home Front Command, Defense Minister Benny Gantz declared that Israel will always prevail against terror.

“The IDF and Security Forces will continue to initiate operational activity in the depth of field and defend wherever necessary. We will maintain our broad deployment, we will continue to hunt the terrorists and their helpers,” said Lieutenant General (Ret.) Gantz, warning, “Whoever attempts to harm Israeli civilians will be harmed and neutralized. Whoever already harmed Israeli civilians will pay the price for it. The Security Campaign continues unrelenting. The state of Israel was always stronger than terror and it will always prevail – also in the future.”

10 suspected terror operatives were arrested over the past forty-eight hours as part of  Operation Waves Breaker in the Israeli security establishment’s unceasing war on terror by  IDF,  Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet) and Border Police Special Operations  Units throughout the West Bank districts of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.

In related developments, IDF forces entered the Palestinian village of Hajja in overnight operations to carry out a court order to map out the pending demolition of the home of a terrorist, in accordance with the long-standing directives of the political leadership in Jerusalem aimed at deterring attacks on Israeli citizens. 63-year-old Israeli Shalom Sofer succumbed to injuries sustained in a stabbing by an assailant identified by Palestinian sources as Younis Helan in the village of al-Funduq near the Jewish community of Kedumim on 25 October.

Operation Waves Breaker was launched seven months ago after the beginning of a deadly surge of attacks against Israelis, that has killed 24 people since last March,