West Bank: On Sunday a 23 year old Palestinian terrorist identified as Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alwa shot dead two Jewish people in the same factory where he used to work, in the Barkan industrial area near Ariel, West Bank.
IDF has declared it a terror attack & launched a search operation to apprehend the terrorist. An image of the terrorist has also been released.
A total of three Israelis – one man and two women – have been shot in the attack. The man and a woman are dead while the second woman is wounded and is reportedly in serious condition. According to some reports, the terrorist was fired from the company two months ago but this claim is disputed by some Israeli sources who say he wasn’t fired.
The slain woman was found with her hands tied with a rope, leading Israeli security officials to believe she was shot execution style after being bound.
The Israeli factory where the shooting occurred is known for giving jobs to Palestinians. Rafael Alon is the owner of the factory where the attack took place. Half the workers (nearly 250) in the factory are Palestinians who are paid handsome salaries. In a statement released soon after the attack, Israeli President Rivlin said, “This was an attack against the idea of Israelis and Palestinian coexisting, living peacefully side by side.”
A CCTV footage of the terrorist fleeing the attack site was aired by Israeli TV channel i24News:
CCTV footage: pic.twitter.com/zIbIQAbLlO
— F. Jeffery 👁 (@Natsecjeff) October 7, 2018
The woman killed in West Bank attack has been identified as Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 28, from Rosh HaAyin in central Israel. She leaves behind a baby son and a husband.
Minutes after the shooting, Jihadi factions/leaders in Gaza started releasing statements praising the attack.
The second Israeli murdered in the terror attack has been identified as 35 year old Ziv Chagbi from Rishon L’Zion. He leaves behind three children.
According to reports in the Israeli media, employees at the factory say that the terrorist, who was also an employee, hadn’t showed up for work over past couple of weeks, giving illness as the reason. Some of his coworkers believe he may have planned the attack during this time. They also say that they did not get to know him very well.
Arab social media celebrated the murder of the two Israeli civilians under the hashtags #بركان# عملية_بركان
Sweets were distributed in the streets by Palestinians to celebrate the murder of Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Chagbi.
According to detailed reports in the Israeli media following the attack, it has been revealed that the terrorist, who is still at large, forced a Palestinian janitor to tie the hands of Kim Levengrond Yehezkel before fatally shooting her.
The twenty-three-year-old terrorist threatened the fellow Palestinian that if he did not cuff Yehezkel he would shoot him as well, an Israeli defense official told The Times of Israel.
This information was revealed to the Israeli press by Israel’s domestic intelligence agency the Shin Bet, which learned that the terrorist had given the orders to a janitor who happened to have been cleaning the factory’s offices at the time. Fearing for his life, the 20-year-old resident of Nablus complied.
The Times of Israel further reports:
He was then given several seconds to flee the scene before Na’alowa went on to shoot Yehezkel, 35-year-old Ziv Hajbi, and 54-year-old Sara Vaturi — the former two succumbed to their wounds at the scene, while Vaturi survived and was released from the hospital on Monday.
The young custodian was questioned by the Shin Bet security service following the attack, but was released after agents concluded that he was not involved in planning the shooting.
The defense official acknowledged that it remained unclear why the terrorist wanted to cuff Yehezkel as he did not do the same for the second victim, Hajbi.
Na’alowa managed to escape the scene and remained at large Tuesday morning as Israeli security forces continued operations in his village of Shuweika, near Tulkarem.
The army has deployed additional troops to the West Bank to prevent copycat attacks, and security forces detained Na’alowa’s brother and sister on Monday morning.
On Monday night, the shooter’s relatives publicly appealed to Na’alowa on Israel Radio to turn himself in to the Israeli authorities.
The army also said Na’alowa had no history of terrorist activities and was not tied to any terror groups, though several of them applauded his actions.
The businesses in the Barkan Industrial Park, located near Ariel, employ some 8,000 people, approximately half of them Israelis and the other half Palestinians. Yehezkel was secretary to the CEO at Alon Group, while Hajbi worked in accounting. Na’alowa was employed by the company as an electrician.
Vaturi told the Ynet news site Tuesday that while one of her Palestinian coworkers took lives, another was responsible for saving her own.
“Basel, our warehouse worker, did a heroic deed and saved my life. I was drifting out of consciousness (after being shot) and Basel — who as soon as he heard the shots came running to our offices — pulled me under the desk and calmed me down, saying ‘my darling, my darling,’” Vaturi recalled.
The Times of Israel adds:
She said Basel had pressed on her gunshot wound with a roll of toilet paper to prevent further bleeding.
“When I asked him for some water because I felt dry, he told me that it was not allowed,” Vaturi said.
“Later at the hospital, I asked for some water and the doctors said the same thing. It turns out that Basel was right.”
The young Palestinian later called the Israeli woman while she was in the hospital to check on her well-being. Basel himself was taken to a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank for treatment of post-trauma anxiety.
Reflecting on the shooting, Vaturi concluded, “we must not generalize all Arabs.”
“A lot of them called me after the attack, asked for forgiveness and were ashamed of what happened. We do not judge them because of the actions of a criminal terrorist. One murdered, but another saved my life.”
UPDATE 13th December 2018:
The Palestinian attacker who murdered young Israeli parents Kim Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi two months ago in Barkan was killed by IDF during an operation to arrest him. Ashraf Naalweh, the murderer, was armed when he was found by Israeli forces near Nablus.
While Palestinian factions, including Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party, mourned Ashraf, IDF released footage of the operation that led to his killing.
— Joe Truzman (@Jtruzmah) December 13, 2018
ITCT Newsdesk also obtained photos of the house where Ashraf was hiding.
This story will be updated in case of new information.