Israeli settler killed in West Bank stabbing attack

Palestinian man pursued by Israeli forces in Salfit district after stabbing a rabbi near illegal settlement of Ariel.

Ariel settlement, occupied West Bank
Similar attack took place last month when a settler was shot dead near the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Havat Gilad [File: Reuters]

An Israeli settler has been stabbed and killed in a knife attack outside an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.

The attack in the district of Salfit on Monday afternoon, on the main road near the Ariel settlement, was reportedly carried out by a Palestinian man who fled the scene, according to Israeli media.

Israeli security forces chased the man who drove away in a vehicle but later left the car and ran away from an army vehicle chasing him. He was still at large late on Monday.

Israel‘s Magen David Adom ambulance service said on its Twitter account the settler was a 30-year-old man with a stab wound to his upper body. He later died in a hospital.

Israeli media identified him as Itamar Ben Gal, 29, a rabbi from the illegal settlement of Har Bracha.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “bring to justice” the Palestinian man.

“I put my trust in the security forces who do the hardest work against these disgraceful attacks,” Netanyahu said at the beginning of a Likud party meeting, the Times of Israel reported.

Israeli forces have dispersed to nearby towns in search of the attacker.

Bethlehem-based Maan News agency said settlers in the area began throwing rocks at Palestinian vehicles passing by.

Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, welcomed the stabbing attack.

“It is proof that the al-Quds Intifada continues,” its armed wing said in a statement on Twitter, referencing an uprising that came out of 2015 protests commonly referred to by Palestinians as the “Intifada of the knives”.

A similar attack to Monday’s occurred last month, when a 35-year-old settler, also a rabbi, was shot dead near the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Havat Gilad. Since then, the Israeli army carried out at least three raids in Palestinian villages near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Accompanied by bulldozers and drones during their incursions, the Israeli army is continuing its search for Ahmad Jarrar, a 22-year-old Palestinian who is wanted for his alleged role in the killing.

His cousin of the same name was killed on January 18 after a 10-hour military operation, in what Palestinians believe was a case of mistaken identity.

Israeli forces declared Jenin, where Jarrar’s village is located, a closed military zone and imposed a curfew on several neighbourhoods.

On Sunday, a 19-year-old Palestinian man succumbed to his wounds after being shot during a raid there the night before.

Israeli settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states an occupying power cannot transfer its population into the territory it occupies.

Source: Al Jazeera