Israeli security forces gather at the site of a reported attack at the Barkan Industrial Park near the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the occupied West Bank on October 7, 2018. A shooting attack by a Palestinian at an industrial zone for a West Bank settlement on Sunday killed two Israelis and wounded another, the army said.Jack GUEZ / AFP
A Palestinian shot dead two Israelis and wounded another at a West Bank settlement’s industrial zone on Sunday, sparking a manhunt for the suspect who worked at the site, the army said.
Since the attack was allegedly carried out by a Palestinian employed at the Barkan industrial zone in the occupied West Bank, questions were raised over whether he knew the victims and over the motivation behind the shooting.
Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus called it a “terrorist attack” but added that other unspecified factors were involved.The 23-year-old Palestinian used a homemade gun, known locally as a “Carlo”, according to Conricus, in the apparent “lone-wolf attack”.
Security forces were searching for the suspected perpetrator, he added.
Surveillance footage spread online that appeared to show the Palestinian fleeing the site with a gun.
Magen David Adom emergency medical services said their medics had entered a building at Barkan and found a man and woman dead.
They were identified by Israeli media as Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, a 28-year-old from the Israeli town of Rosh Haayin near Tel Aviv, and Ziv Hagbi, 35, from Rishon Lezion, also near Tel Aviv.
“Later we found another injured woman hiding under a table with gunshot wounds in her upper body,” said paramedic Tomer Fine, who was the first responder at the site.
The woman, 54, was taken to hospital, where her condition was stabilised.
Speaking at Israel’s weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the shooting “a very severe terror attack” and said he was certain the perpetrator would be caught.
Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, welcomed the attack and called it a “natural response to the crimes of the Israeli occupation.”
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group issued a similar statement.
‘Together and crying’
The industrial zone is located next to the Israeli settlement Barkan and near the settlement of Ariel in the north of the West Bank.
Palestinians work side by side with Israelis in the industrial zone.
Palestinians often face tough choices in finding employment in the economically struggling West Bank and jobs in Israeli settlements can provide steady income.
Israelis have portrayed the industrial zone as a symbol of coexistence, though it is located entirely in the West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967.
Speaking at Barkan, Yossi Dagan, head of a regional council for Israeli settlements in the area, said there were “Jewish and Palestinian workers standing outside together and crying”.
Some Israeli media reported the Palestinian suspect had been recently fired from his job at the site, raising speculation the attack may have been motivated by a personal vendetta.
The army, however, said the alleged shooter was still employed at the site as of Sunday, but noted he had been away from work in recent days.
The attack took place at the Barkan depot of the Alon Group, which manufactures recycling and environmental products, according to Eran Bodankin, a manager at the site.
Speaking with Channel 10 television, Bodankin said the suspect had entered the offices to fix an electrical problem, only to open fire at a secretary and senior manager sitting nearby.A wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis broke out in 2015, but they have since become sporadic.
Last month, a Palestinian teenager stabbed an Israeli to death at a junction at the entrance to a large bloc of Israeli settlements in the West Bank near Jerusalem.A number of attacks have occurred at that location, the Gush Etzion Junction.
Israel settlements are considered illegal under international law and major stumbling blocks to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.Israeli leaders blame Palestinian violence, “incitement” and intransigence for the lack of progress in peace efforts.