An Israeli man who was critically injured Friday afternoon in a shooting attack in the West Bank succumbed to his wounds later Friday. He was named as Danny Gonen, 25, from the central city of Lod.
Gonen was shot in the upper body near the settlement of Dolev, northwest of Jerusalem. He was found unconscious and transferred to Tel Hashomer Hospital by IDF helicopter where he died over an hour after the attack.
Gonen was an electrical engineering student and the eldest of five siblings.
A second man, whose identity was not immediately made public, was moderately hurt in the attack and was being treated at Tel Hashomer.
The two men were traveling in their car after visiting a spring near Dolev, when they were flagged down by a Palestinian man, seemingly asking them for assistance. He then pulled a gun out of a bag he was carrying and opened fire on them at point-blank range, mortally wounding Gonen.
“The Palestinian asked for information regarding a nearby spring moments before drawing a gun and shooting the passengers at close range,” according to a statement released by the IDF.
The fatal incident took place in a West Bank area that Israelis are barred from entering without prior coordination with the security authorities, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
The IDF and Israel Police forces launched a manhunt for the gunman in nearby Palestinian villages.
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) June 19, 2015
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the incident proved that Israelis are under constant threat.
“We mustn’t let the relative calm mislead us. Efforts to hurt us (Israelis) are underway at all times, and we will continue to fight them using all the means available to us,” he said.
President Reuven Rivlin condemned the attack, which he said was “another step in the quiet and serious escalation in acts of terrorism we have witnessed in recent months,” and called on Palestinian and Arab-Israeli leaders to do the same.
“We will not accept a situation in which a young hiker has his life taken from him in the land of Israel because he is Jewish. Security forces will work tirelessly to bring to justice those responsible for this cruel and brutal act. There should be heard clear and decisive condemnation of such criminal acts from both the Arab leadership, which bears responsibility for actions of terrorism emanating from its territory, as well as from the leaders of the Arab community in Israel,” Rivlin wrote on Facebook.
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, issued a statement also condemning the attack and calling for calm.
“I condemn today’s deadly shooting attack on an Israeli civilian vehicle traveling in the occupied West Bank.
On this second day of Ramadan and at the start of the Shabbat, I call on all sides to exercise the utmost restraint, to maintain calm and promptly bring the perpetrators to justice,” Mladenov said.
A Hamas spokesman in Qatar praised the “heroic act,” according to Israel Radio.
Israel saw a wave of so-called “lone wolf” attacks last year by Palestinians using guns, knives and vehicles in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the West Bank. Over two dozen Israelis were killed in these attacks, including children. Police say it’s difficult to stop such attacks because assailants act on their own, without working through established terror groups.
Three Israeli teenagers were wounded by a Palestinian who hit them with his car near the Alon Shvut settlement in the West Bank last month, with the Shin Bet domestic security service saying the perpetrator had confessed to carrying out the attack for nationalistic reasons.
AFP and AP contributed to this report.