Authorities on Sunday afternoon identified a man and a woman shot dead in a terror attack in the West Bank earlier in the day as Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 29, a married mother of a baby, and Ziv Hajbi, a 35-year-old father of three.
Yehezkel was from the central Israeli town of Rosh Ha’ayin, while Hajbi hailed from Rishon Lezion. They were shot dead by a Palestinian gunman at the Barkan Industrial Park near the settlement-city of Ariel.
A second woman was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment for a gunshot wound in her stomach and was in moderate condition.
The suspect, a 23-year-old Palestinian man from the northern West Bank, entered a factory where he was employed in the Barkan Industrial Park shortly before 8 a.m, armed with a locally produced Carlo-style submachine gun, according to army spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus.
Inside, he tied up and shot dead Yehezkel and Hajbi at close range, as well as wounding the third victim, according to eyewitnesses.
After the attack the suspect fled the scene, still armed with the submachine gun, the military said.
A worker at the factory who was nearby told reporters that the terrorist also tried to shoot at him as he fled the scene. The worker, who carried a gun, fired back a shot at the gunman, but apparently missed. He said he recognized the suspect as an electrician who worked at the company.
“He has not yet been apprehended. We know that he is still armed and is considered dangerous,” Conricus said. “We do not know if he plans to carry out another terror attack or if he is just fleeing, but we assume he is still dangerous.”
The IDF, Shin Bet security service and Israel Police, including special forces units, launched a manhunt for the gunman, and deployed additional troops throughout the West Bank in order to prevent “copycat” incidents — a common phenomenon after high-profile terror attacks.
The suspect worked at the Alon Group factory — which manufactures waste management systems — where he committed the attack, and had a legal work permit. He was acquainted with his victims, according to Conricus.
He had been absent from work in the days before the shooting, but was still employed by the factory, Conricus said, refuting earlier media reports that he had been fired.
The IDF would not release the suspect’s name, but said he was from the northern West Bank village of Shuweika, near Tulkarem. According to the IDF, the suspect had no history of terrorist activities and was not tied to any terror groups, though several of them applauded his actions.
Earlier in the day, he had posted on his Facebook page earlier in the day that he was “waiting for [Allah].”
The businesses in the Barkan Industrial Park, located near Ariel, employ some 8,000 people, approximately half of them Israelis and the other half Palestinians.