The man suspected of stabbing to death an Israeli father of four at the northern West Bank’s Ariel Junction Monday holds Israeli citizenship and lives in Jaffa, defense officials said late Monday.
Nineteen-year-old Abed al-Karim Assi managed to evade capture following the attack, even after an IDF officer hit him with his car while in pursuit.
It wasn’t immediately clear how he was identified, although CCTV footage from the scene showed a man with similar facial features.
Assi used his blue Israeli ID card to spend time on both sides of the Green Line. His father lives in Nablus and his mother lives in Haifa.
Assi had also received social service assistance, including at the Shanti Home in Tel Aviv for at-risk youth.
The facility’s coordinator, Hilit Levy, told Channel 10 that she was “shocked” to hear the news. She said that Assi had decided to leave the home in November 2016 after staff told him he could no longer continue making weekly visits to his family in Nablus.
“He came from a broken family that did not support him,” Levy added.
The coordinator said they had made sure he was an Israeli citizen prior to taking him in and that the incident would not stop them from assisting minorities, regardless.
The Welfare Ministry released a statement Monday evening saying Assi “was known to social services.”
“Over the years, attempts were made to help the young man who was abandoned by his parents,” the statement said, adding that the 19-year-old had more than once left the housing and rehabilitation programming in which he had been participating.
Assi’s victim was identified as Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, 29 from the nearby settlement of Har Bracha.
#صور:: الاعلام العبري: منفذ عملية الطعن اليوم في اريئيل هو عبد الكريم عادل عاصي من سكان يافا يبلغ من العمر 19 عاماً، ويقيم في (تل ابيب) ووالده من مدينة نابلس و أمه من مدينة حيفا المحتلة.#عملية_سلفيت#فلسطين_أون_لاين pic.twitter.com/xZx3anvehF
— فلسطين أون لاين (@felesteenonline) February 5, 2018
Video from the scene showed the Palestinian attacker crossing a road toward Ben-Gal, who was standing in front of a bus stop, and stabbing him. Ben-Gal then fled across the street with the stabber in pursuit.
The Magen David Adom emergency service and army medics treated the victim at the scene in the northern West Bank settlement.
Medics tried to resuscitate Ben-Gal, who was stabbed three times in the chest. He was taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah, but succumbed to his wounds.
His funeral was slated for Tuesday at 10 a.m. in Har Bracha.
Ben-Gal is the second Israeli to be killed in an attack in the West Bank in under a month.
On January 9, Rabbi Raziel Shevach, 35, was fatally shot near Nablus in the northern West Bank.
Ben-Gal and Shevach knew each other through mutual friends.