An Israeli father of five was lightly injured early Wednesday morning when two Palestinian men assaulted him after breaking into the West Bank settlement of Eli. The two were shot dead by the settlement’s security detail.
The victim, Roee Harel, was beaten and stabbed with a knife at his home and taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment.
“A victim was brought to the trauma center of Shaare Zedek with a number of stab wounds to the upper body. He is in stable and in fair condition,” a hospital spokesperson said.
The two terrorists attempted to enter homes in the West Bank community and then hid, Army Radio reported. The two attackers were identified by Palestinian police as Labib Azzam and Mohammed Zaghlwan, aged 17 and from the village of Qaryut near the settlement.
“Upon the significant threat to the people of the community, forces shot the attackers, resulting in their death,” the IDF said in a statement.
Harel, who was wearing his Israeli army uniform because he was set to start a stint of reserve duty at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, said that he struggled with the attackers in his home and then pushed them out before they were shot by security forces. Harel told reporters he chased them to the doors of his children’s bedrooms and managed to push them outside the house and lock the door.
“I opened the door and saw two [men] in black jumping me with clubs,” he told Army Radio. “After a struggle I managed to push them out. Later, when we opened the door, we saw there was a knife stuck in it.”
“If anyone has any doubts as to their intentions, two 17-year-olds came to slaughter me, my wife and my kids,” Harel told Ynet. “In the seconds during which I fought with them, I thought to myself that what happened to the Fogel and Gavish families. I screamed to my wife to call the settlement’s guard, the children woke up and cried, but my wife was with them in the bedroom, so they hardly saw anything.”
Ruth and Udi Fogel and three of their five children, aged 3 months to 11 years, were murdered in their beds by Palestinian attackers who entered their home in the West Bank settlement of Itamar. Four members of the Gavish family, including both parents, one of their seven children and a grandfather were killed by a Palestinian attacker in 2002 in their home in Elon Moreh, located near Nablus in the West Bank.
Residents of the community of roughly 4,000 people were instructed to remain in their homes following the early morning incident.
Eli is located approximately 20 miles north of Jerusalem in the central West Bank.
The incident was the latest in a string of Palestinian attacks targeting Israelis in recent months.
Last week a Palestinian man attacked an unarmed 48-year-old Israeli security guard in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim with an ax, seriously injuring him. A suspect was apprehended by Israeli security forces Saturday night.
Twenty-nine Israelis and three foreign nationals have been killed in a wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence since October. Around 170 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.
AFP contributed to this report.