Three fathers named as victims of West Bank terror attack

Tamir Avihai, 50, was from settlement of Kiryat Netafim; Michael Ladygin, 36, immigrated 5 years ago, lived in Bat Yam with his family; Motti Ashkenazi, 59, had two grandchildren

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Victims of a terror attack near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel on November 15, 2022., Tamir Avihai (L) Michael Ladygin (C) and Motti Ashkenazi (R). (Courtesy)
Victims of a terror attack near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel on November 15, 2022., Tamir Avihai (L) Michael Ladygin (C) and Motti Ashkenazi (R). (Courtesy)

The three victims of the terror attack Tuesday morning near the West Bank settlement of Ariel were named by evening.

One was Michael Ladygin, 36, a resident of the central coastal city of Bat Yam, who was stabbed by the killer. He left behind a wife and two kids, according to Bat Yam Mayor Tzvika Brot, who added that Ladygin had moved to Israel five years ago.

A second was Motti Ashkenazi, 59, a resident of the central city of Yavne. He worked as a supplier for the Amisragas gas distributor in the West Bank area.

Ashkenazi is survived by his wife, three children, and two grandchildren.

“Motti was a loving person, full of joy, an exemplary husband, and a family man with a huge soul who always loved to help everyone,” his family said in remarks provided by the Yavne municipality.

A spokesperson for Yavne said the city “shares in the family’s grief and is supporting them at this difficult time.”

The third was 50-year-old Tamir Avihai, a resident of the settlement of Kiryat Netafim and a father of six, who was killed when the terrorist rammed his car into him, following the stabbing spree.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan described Avihai, whom he knew personally, as “a man of kindness” who was always seeking to help other people.

“Everyone who knew him, loved him,” Dagan said in a statement.

The Kiryat Netafim settlement said in a statement “We are shocked and saddened to announce the passing of our friend, a resident of the settlement, Tamir Avihai. We send a warm hug and lots of strength to his family and children. The Kiryat Netafim community will do everything it can to help the family.”

There were no immediate details on the victims’ funerals.

Israeli security and medics at the scene of a terror attack, at the entrance to Ariel industrial zone, in the West Bank, on November 15, 2022. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

According to the Israel Defense Forces, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed a security guard near the entrance to the Ariel Industrial Park. The terrorist then stabbed three people at and adjacent to a nearby gas station, before he fled in an apparently stolen vehicle.

Shortly afterward, the terrorist crashed the vehicle into other cars on the Route 5 highway, before getting out and stabbing another person, according to medics. He then stole another vehicle and drove it against traffic, crashing into more cars, before he got out and was shot dead by soldiers and armed civilians.

MDA said the 36-year-old security guard was seriously hurt. Security officials were probing how the terrorist managed to flee after stabbing the guard at the first scene, and why he was not shot by another guard. The second guard only fired into the air.

Two men in their 40s who were stabbed at and near the gas station were killed, and another man in his 40s was seriously hurt. Aside from Avihai, who was killed after being rammed by the terrorist, another 35-year-old was stabbed and seriously hurt on Route 5, according to MDA.

The Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva said it was treating three victims in serious condition, one of whom was unstable. It later said the condition of one of the victims had improved.

Muhammed Souf (via Twitter)

The terrorist was named by the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry as 18-year-old Muhammed Souf, from the nearby town of Hares.

Local officials said the terrorist had worked in the industrial zone, and had a valid permit. Souf did not have any prior security offenses, a defense source told The Times of Israel.

IDF chief Aviv Kohavi toured the scene of the rampage after the attack alongisde several senior military commanders.

Kohavi said the attack “should have ended otherwise,” apparently referring to the security guard who fired in the air instead of at the terrorist. The guard said he had been concerned about hitting civilians in the area.

“We will investigate and draw lessons,” Kohavi was quoted as saying in an IDF statement.

He also hailed the soldiers who helped “neutralize” the attacker while vowing the military will continue its months-long counterterror campaign in the West Bank.

The IDF is concerned the rampage could inspire copycat attacks, but has decided against sending more troops to the West Bank, Channel 13 reported.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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