A teenage girl was killed and her father and brother were seriously injured in a terrorist bombing at a natural spring outside the central West Bank settlement of Dolev on Friday morning, Israeli officials said.
Rina Shnerb, 17, of Lod, was critically wounded in the attack and received treatment at the scene from civilian and military medics before being pronounced dead of her injuries. Her father Eitan, a rabbi in Lod, and brother Dvir, 19, were taken by military helicopter to a Jerusalem hospital in serious condition, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said.
Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Ronen Manelis said the army considered the blast to be a “serious terror attack.”
Shnerb was laid to rest on Friday afternoon, with hundreds attending her funeral in her hometown of Lod in central Israel. Her father and brother were unable to attend, due to the serious injuries they sustained.
The army said an improvised explosive device was used in the attack. Police sappers determined that the bomb had been planted earlier at the spring and was triggered remotely when the family approached it.
Security services were reportedly tracking a car that fled the scene shortly after the explosion. “IDF soldiers are searching the area,” the military said in a statement.
Manelis said the IDF did not yet know the identities of the culprits or if they belonged to an established terror group or were acting alone.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as defense minister, said he was receiving constant updates on the search effort and would meet soon with the commanders of the country’s security forces.
In a statement Netanyahu offered his “deep condolences” to the family and wished swift recuperation to the wounded. “We will continue to strengthen [Jewish] communities. We will spread our roots deeper and strike out at our enemies.”
Rina Shnerb’s funeral was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in her hometown of Lod.
Troops were working to find the terrorists behind the attack as quickly as possible, under the general understanding that the more time they have to flee, the more difficult the search effort becomes.
“Security force are in pursuit of the vile terrorists. We will reach them. Our long arm will pay them their dues,” Netanyahu said.
The explosion occurred at the Bubin spring — a popular hiking spot — approximately 10 kilometers east of the city of Modiin.
“Our surroundings are full of natural springs and hiking to them is an inseparable part of residents’ lives,” Yael, a resident of Dolev, told Channel 12 news. “There is a difficult feeling.”
She said a bomb attack was “a severe escalation” the likes of which the community had not encountered “in over 20 years.”
Palestinian media reported that the IDF had begun setting up roadblocks and conducting searches in the western Ramallah area, southeast of Dolev.
“This [search] mission is being led on several fronts — the first is the intelligence front with other intelligence services, the second front is the manhunt in the field with roadblocks… The third front is the regular security effort to prevent similar events,” IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis said.
Another IDF spokesperson said the military was working with the Shin Bet security service and Israel Police to track the culprits.
She said additional troops were also being sent into the West Bank both to find the terrorists and to boost security to settlements in the area.
Large numbers of emergency response personnel were called to the area, including the IDF helicopter that evacuated the victims.
One of the Magen David Adom medics said: “When we arrived at the location, the scene was difficult… We saw three victims lying on the ground, a 46-year-old man who was fully conscious and suffering from wounds to his upper body. Lying next to him was a [19-year-old man] with injuries to his limbs and upper body and a 17-year-old girl with multi-system injuries.”
Magen David Adom spokesman Zaki Heller said the father, despite his injuries, had called in the medics.
The father and son were taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem for treatment, MDA said.
A hospital spokesperson said the father was now considered to be in moderate, stable condition. The 19-year-old son sustained injuries throughout his body, including to his stomach, from the blast. He was unconscious and connected to a respirator.
The Dolev settlement told residents that they could not leave the community and that those outside should remain there for the time being in light of the bombing.
Israeli military officials have warned in recent weeks of an increase in terrorist activities and violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the lead-up to next month’s Israeli elections.
“The army is dealing with attempted terror attacks, with lone-wolf assailants and with terror cells,” Manelis said.
Last Friday, a Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into two Israeli teenage siblings, critically injuring one of them, outside the Elazar settlement in the central West Bank, just south of Jerusalem.
The car rolled over after the terror attack, and when the assailant tried to emerge from it, he was shot dead by an off duty police officer who was driving behind him.
Earlier this month, an Israeli religious seminary student, Dvir Sorek, was found stabbed to death outside the settlement of Migdal Oz. Israeli security forces tracked down the suspected killers in approximately 48 hours, arresting Palestinina cousins, Nasir Asafra, 24, and Qassem Asafra, 30, from the village of Beit Kahil in the southern West Bank.