An Israeli security guard was shot and killed in a terror attack near the entrance to the West Bank settlement of Ariel on Friday night, officials said.
Security camera footage from the scene showed a blue Suzuki vehicle driving up to a guard post, where a person in the passenger seat opened fire. The gunman and the driver then both got out and continued to fire into the guard post before driving off.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service said its medics declared the man dead at the scene.
“When we arrived at the scene we saw a man in his twenties unconscious with gunshot wounds, he was not breathing and had no pulse,” MDA medic Tomer Fine said.
Media reports said the slain guard was in his early twenties. A second security guard who was nearby was unharmed. The shooters apparently used improvised Carlo submachine guns.
Ariel, a city with over 20,000 residents, and other settlements in the area issued a lockdown order over fears the gunmen may attack again.
Large security forces began to block off roads as police and the military launched a massive manhunt for the gunmen. Local security officials said they did not know where the vehicle headed after the attack.
The Israel Defense Forces said special forces were participating in the search.
תמונת רכב המחבלים המופצת במצוד. סוזוקי כחולה. שני מחבלים. כנראה חמושים ברובה קרלו. לוחית זיהוי צהובה. pic.twitter.com/FjxMcgqaZ5
— Or Heller אור הלר (@OrHeller) April 29, 2022
The Hamas terror group praised the shooting, saying it was a “heroic operation” and a “natural response to the crimes of the occupation and its settlers.” Hamas did not claim its members perpetrated the attack.
The attack comes as tensions have risen sharply between Israel and the Palestinians in recent weeks against the backdrop of repeated terror attacks in Israeli cities that left 14 dead.
The escalation has come amid the Muslim holy month of Ramadan — often a period of high tension in Israel and the West Bank.
The army has stepped up its West Bank activities in an attempt to crack down on the spiraling violence. The ensuing raids sparked clashes that left at least 25 Palestinians dead, many of whom took part in the clashes, while others appeared to have been uninvolved civilians.