ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 138

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Victim identified as dual Israeli-American Elan Ganeles

Israeli man killed in West Bank terror shooting — IDF

27-year-old pronounced dead in the hospital hours after being shot near Jericho; 2 other Israeli-owned cars come under fire, with no injuries; gunmen set fire to own vehicle, flee

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

Israeli security forces at the scene of a shooting attack in the Jordan Valley, near the West Bank city of Jericho, February 27, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)
Israeli security forces at the scene of a shooting attack in the Jordan Valley, near the West Bank city of Jericho, February 27, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

An Israeli-American man was shot and killed in a terror attack near Jericho in the West Bank on Monday, the military and medics said, a day after two Israeli brothers were killed in a similar attack.

The fatality was named as Elan Ganeles, an Israel Defense Forces veteran originally from West Hartford, Connecticut.

According to the IDF, multiple gunmen arrived by car on the Route 90 highway, close to the Nevo military base, and opened fire at an Israeli-owned vehicle. The terrorists then continued driving and opened fire at another car near the Beit Ha’arava Junction, before continuing and shooting at a third car nearby, the IDF said.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said medics were called to the scene after receiving reports of a car crash. When first responders arrived they found the 27-year-old Ganeles in critical condition suffering from gunshot wounds.

The victim was taken by MDA to the Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, where he was later declared dead.

“The injured person was evacuated during resuscitation efforts which also continued at the hospital, but unfortunately the staff had to pronounce him dead,” the hospital said in a statement.

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price revealed that the victim was a dual Israeli-American citizen.

“We condemn the horrific killing of two Israeli brothers near Nablus (yesterday) and the killing today of an Israeli near Jericho,” Price said during a daily press briefing.

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides also issued a confirmation of his own, tweeting, “I pray for his family.”

The Israeli consulate in San Francisco identified the victim as Ganeles, a recent graduate of Columbia University in New York.

The motorists in the second Israeli-owned car that came under gunfire in the area continued driving until reaching the nearby Almog Junction and reported the incident to authorities. The Rescuers Without Borders emergency service said none of the passengers was hurt.

The service said no Israelis were hurt in the third car that came under fire in the area.

IDF and police said the gunmen set fire to their car as they fled the area.

“We identified smoke and approached a vehicle on fire… and we realized that it is the vehicle of the terrorists,” one officer who was at the scene said in remarks provided by police.

He said one of the gunmen aimed his gun at them, “and we immediately fired at the terrorists.”

The police officers attempted to pursue the attackers, but they fled toward the Jericho area.

Police commissioner Kobi Shabtai praised the officers for engaging the gunmen, a statement said.

“IDF soldiers are conducting searches and setting up road blocks and checkpoints in the area,” the military said.

Palestinian media outlets reported increased Israeli military activity in the Jericho area, with some roads being closed.

Israeli security forces at the scene of a shooting attack at the Bet Ha’Arava Junction, near Jericho in the West Bank, February 27, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

In a separate attack on Monday night, an Israeli family came under fire while driving near the Palestinian town of Qusra, the military and medics said.

According to Rescuers Without Borders and the IDF, the car driving between Qusra and the settlement of Migdalim was hit with at least four bullets.

The gunmen, who fired from a passing vehicle, fled the scene.

The service said the driver, a young woman, was very lightly hurt after being scratched in the hand, apparently by glass shrapnel. Her three young children in the car were being treated for anxiety.

The IDF said it had launched a manhunt for the attackers.

Bullet holes are seen on a car that came under fire near the West Bank town of Qusra, February 27, 2023. (Jordan Valley Regional Council)

The attacks came a day after Hallel Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaniv, 19, were killed as they drove through the West Bank Palestinian town of Huwara on Sunday.

An initial probe of the Sunday shooting suggested the gunman took advantage of a traffic jam on the Route 60 highway that traverses through the Palestinian town to carry out the attack.

The IDF was searching for the gunman, who has not yet been apprehended.

The military has bolstered the West Bank with an additional four infantry battalions following the attack and subsequent rioting by settlers in Huwara.

In recent months, Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the IDF conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

However, the nightly raids have been on pause since Wednesday, ahead of and following a Jordan-hosted meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials on Sunday whose goal was to restore calm to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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