By Ron Kampeas
A Palestinian assailant killed three Israelis in an extended attack before being shot dead in the northern West bank settlement of Ariel on Tuesday.
The attack comes after a period of relative calm following a wave of Palestinian stabbing attacks in the spring, which spurred a series of Israeli raids in the northern West Bank that have fueled tensions.
The 20-minute spree began when the 19-year-old assailant, whom police named as Muhammad Murad Sami Souf, stabbed and seriously wounded a security guard at Ariel’s industrial park, Haaretz reported. He continued to a gas station where he stabbed and killed two more people, stole a car, and killed another man in a car ramming. Souf got out of the car and stabbed and seriously wounded a third person before a soldier shot and killed him.
Souf reportedly had a permit to enter the Ariel industrial zone. After the attack, Israeli troops searched Souf’s nearby home village, Hares, and arrested several members of his family, according to the Haaretz report.
Israel identified the people who died as Motti Ashkenzi, 59; Tamir Avichai, 50; and Michael Ledigin, 36.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid condemned the attack as did his soon-to-be successor, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to forming a government after winning Nov. 1 elections. Netanyahu campaigned in part by saying that Lapid was not forceful enough in countering terrorism. One of Netanyahu’s likely coalition partners, Itamar Ben-Gvir, a leader of the Otzma Yehudit Party, wants to institute the death penalty for terrorists and loosen open-fire rules for soldiers and police responding to perceived threats.