Two teens, recently discharged soldier among 4 killed in West Bank attack

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The four Israelis killed in a terror shooting outside the central West Bank settlement of Eli on Tuesday were identified as 17-year-old Nachman Mordoff, 17-year-old Elisha Anteman, 21-year-old Harel Masood and 64-year-old Ofer Fayerman.

The four were sitting at a hummus restaurant adjacent to a gas station when a pair of armed Palestinians opened fire, killing them and injuring four others. One of the terrorists was shot dead at the scene by an armed Israeli civilian, while the second fled and was killed some two hours later by special forces.

Anteman and Fayerman were slated to be buried late Tuesday night at the cemetery of Eli, where they both were from. The funeral for Masood, a resident of the central town of Yad Binyamin, was scheduled to also take place late Tuesday at a cemetery in the nearby Nahal Sorek Regional Council.

Yikrat Friedman, an acquaintance of Massood, told the TPS news agency that he was a “golden guy, handsome and bursting with values.” She also said that Harel was only recently released from combat service. “He loved the Land of Israel and its people. He dreamed of settling this land and worked to fulfill his dream together with his friends.”

Shai Reichner, the chair of the Nahal Sorek Regional Council, said in a statement that “there are no words to express the shock and pain we feel right now. I and the entire Nahal Sorek community grieve with the Masood family over this terrible disaster and share in their unimaginable grief.”

Anteman worked as a waiter at the Hummus Eliyahu branch targeted in the attack. He was also a 12th-grade student at the Bnei Akiva Eli Yeshiva, which issued a statement eulogizing him, offering condolences to his family and offering assistance to those in the school in coping with their grief.

Israeli security forces inspect the car belonging to Palestinian terrorists at the scene of a shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Eli, June 20, 2023. (Flash90)

The head of Anteman’s yeshiva told Haaretz that the 17-year-old was full of charisma and was always looking out for others. “He wasn’t afraid of any challenge and set goals for himself that he was constantly working toward.”

Mordoff’s identity was released to the press late Tuesday. He was a resident of the Achiya outpost in the central West Bank. Minimal information was available on Fayerman.

Itay Ya’akov, the owner of the Hummus Eliyahu branch, said, “We are making every effort so that the restaurant will be able to return to normal, flourish and be bustling with life. I know some of the victims, and it is very painful. We will do everything we can so that the place will only grow.” He went on to call on the government to approve additional settlement construction in response to the attack.

Moral Nikel, who works in the Eli settlement’s security squad and was dispatched to the scene in time to neutralize one of the terrorists, recounted the incident to Channel 12. “The shooting began when I was still inside my car. I saw the terrorist with a weapon and saw him shoot at a person who was in their car. I then got out of my car and shot at him. He returned fire, but I didn’t stop shooting until he stopped moving.”

Israeli security forces at the scene of a shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Eli, June 20, 2023. (Flash90)

Nikel was hit during the exchange but was in stable condition and receiving treatment at a nearby hospital.

Of the four injured, one of the victims was listed in serious condition, two were in moderate condition, and the fourth was in good condition, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said.

According to the army’s initial investigation of the attack, the two gunmen arrived at the gas station by car and first opened fire with assault rifles at diners in the adjacent restaurant, after which the terrorists targeted motorists at the gas station itself.

Several knives were found in the car the terrorists arrived in, according to local security officials.

The terrorist shot dead by Nikel at the scene was named as Muhannad Faleh, 26, from the village of Urif in the Nablus area, according to Palestinian media outlets and images circulating online showing his ID card.

Israeli forensic workers at the scene of a shooting attack near the West Bank Settlement of Eli on June 20, 2023. (Flash90)

Some two hours later, the Shin Bet security agency said Israeli forces located and killed the second Palestinian gunman who fled the scene.

Shin Bet officers and members of the elite Yamam counterterrorism police unit found the car that the terrorist stole from the gas station abandoned near the Palestinian town of Tubas, and found an assault rifle used in the attack.

A short while later, the suspect was located in a taxi inside Tubas and was shot by the special forces.

He was named by media reports as Khaled Mustafa Sabah, also from Urif.

Hamas claimed Faleh and Sabah as members but stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attack.

“The operation south of Nablus is a clear message to the criminal occupation government,” the terror group said, adding in a separate statement that it came “in response to its crimes against the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque and its aggression against Nablus and Jenin.”

Hours after Tuesday’s shooting, Palestinians reported that a mob of settlers were attacking the northern West Bank town of Huwara, which has already been targeted by several settler riots this year.

Footage showed a car torched during the riot as well as the vandalization of several buildings and other Palestinian property.

There were also reports of settlers torching fields belonging to Palestinian farmers near Eli and the nearby settlement of Shiloh.

Dozens of settlers also marched to the Yitzhar settlement to demand a harsh response by the IDF to the attack. Soldiers sought to clear the roads and one of them reportedly fired into the air after the settlers refused to cooperate.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been elevated for the past year, with the military carrying out near-nightly raids in the West Bank, amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

On Monday, six Palestinians were killed and nearly 100 were wounded in gun battles in Jenin in the northern West Bank. Eight IDF soldiers sustained light-to-moderate injuries in the clashes and as a result of a massive roadside bomb that was detonated next to an army vehicle.

Since the beginning of the year, Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have killed 24 people and left several more seriously hurt, including Tuesday’s attack.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 127 West Bank Palestinians have been killed during that span, most of them during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances.

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