An Israeli man was killed Thursday in a shooting attack on a West Bank road Thursday, sparking a manhunt for the assailants and revenge attacks by settlers, amid spiking tensions in the territory.
Elhanan Klein, 29, was killed as he was returning from army reserve duty to his home in the settlement of Einav in the northern West Bank, the Samaria Regional Council said. Medics found him dead in his car, which crashed and overturned on the side of Route 557 near the Palestinian town of Bayt Lid, northwest of Nablus.
Israeli authorities described the incident as a terror attack and the Israel Defense Forces launched a manhunt for the gunman behind the attack, setting up roadblocks in the area.
“The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was unconscious, without a pulse, was not breathing, and with [gunshot] wounds. We performed medical tests and after a short while we had to declare his death,” said Magen David Adom medic Bentzi Landsberg.
The attack came amid soaring tensions in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, as Israel fights a fierce war against the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip following its October 7 massacres in southern Israel.
Following the attack, settlers allegedly set fire to Palestinian shops, cars, olive groves, and other property in the nearby village of Deir Sharf.
Video footage posted by activists showed Palestinian olive groves set ablaze, allegedly by settlers, close to Jit Junction, several kilometers away from the site of the terror attack.
Settler activists also blocked a key road leading into the Palestinian city of Nablus to protest what they said was army inaction, clashing with Border Police.
According to the police, three Israelis were arrested at the site on suspicion of arson and disturbing public order.
תיעוד: מתנחלים מציתים חנויות ומכוניות בכניסה לכפר דיר שרף באזור שכם, התיעוד מלפני שעה קלה pic.twitter.com/2YUVb7UMCa
— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) November 2, 2023
Earlier on Thursday, police said a planned terror attack against security forces was foiled last month in East Jerusalem as officers uncovered an explosives lab and arrested those responsible.
Police said officers, working together with the Shin Bet security service, arrested two men from the Shuafat refugee camp some three weeks ago on suspicion of planning a combined shooting and bombing attack.
The statement said the men, both in their 20s, had established a connection with terror groups in the West Bank and obtained material to build an explosive device. They were also planning to buy weapons.
The alleged plot involved shooting at forces from their apartment, luring troops to it, and then detonating the bomb.
Security forces raided the apartment and found various chemical substances, receptacles, instructions on how to make explosive devices, and various other components allegedly planned to be used to make the bomb.
The men have been held in custody since their arrest, and they were arraigned in court Wednesday night, with their custody extended again until Sunday, police said.
Charges were expected to be filed against them in the coming days.
On Monday, a 17-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem stabbed and seriously injured a police officer at a gas station close to the Shivtei Yisrael light rail station near the Old City
He attempted to snatch the cop’s weapon, then fled the scene and was eventually shot dead by another officer.
The Shin Bet security service has warned the government of its concerns about an eruption of violence in the West Bank, noting an increase in settler attacks and clashes with Palestinians amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
The US and EU have also warned that the West Bank is at a boiling point.