A Palestinian terrorist shot two Israelis, killing one and moderately wounding the second, on Friday afternoon near the West Bank settlement of Dolev, some six kilometers west of Ramallah.
The shooting victims, residents of Lod, were in the area to bathe in a local spring.
The fatality was identified as 25-year-old Danny Gonen. He was buried in the Lod Cemetery Saturday night.
Israel Radio reported on Saturday that Hamas’s military wing claimed responsibility for the shooting, citing a statement released by a terrorist cell named for Hamas operatives Marwan al-Kuasma and Amar Abu Aisha – who kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens last year.
A security source told The Jerusalem Post, however, that the claim has not been confirmed.
“Until we have someone in custody, we cannot know with certainty,” the security source said, when asked whether Hamas was behind the attack, which occurred just a few days after the IDF announced gestures to the Palestinians to ease movement and access in honor of the Ramadan holiday, including the first-ever shuttle buses from West Bank cities to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
“This is a terrorist attack. It could be characteristic of Hamas, or it could be a lone attacker. One doesn’t need very much to carry out such a terrorist attack,” he added.
The IDF carried out searches in the West Bank, and the Shin Bet is trying to track down the gunman through intelligence leads.
“We are questioning everyone who was at the spring, and trying to track down the terrorists with intelligence,” an IDF officer said.
Israeli civilians are supposed to coordinate visits to the spring with the army, but it appears as if the two were not aware of that procedure, he said.
“We shouldn’t let the relative calm that exists [in spite of continued attempts to execute terrorist attacks] mislead us.
There are continuous attempts to hurt us and we will continue to fight against such attempts with all the means at our disposal,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to a senior IDF source, the two young men were on their way to the spring, but decided to turn around after a friend from nearby Dolev told them a group of Palestinians was there.
As they approached Parsa junction, a Palestinian standing at the side of the road waved for them to pull over and asked whether the “spring had water in it,” according to the IDF source.
In the middle of their discussion, the man produced a handgun and opened fire, striking both Israeli men with 9-milliliter rounds.
The moderately wounded man called his friend from Dolev for help and both attempted to resuscitate the critically wounded man, the IDF source said.
Magen David Adom paramedics reported finding Gonen lying on the ground unconscious, not breathing, and with no pulse. “We immediately began providing lifesaving medical care and attempted resuscitation,” MDA said.
The IDF dispatched a helicopter to the scene, which airlifted Gonen to Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer.
President Reuven Rivlin called on the Arab leadership, including those in the Israeli-Arab community, to condemn the attack. He sent his condolences to Gonen’s family and his wishes for a speedy recovery to the second unidentified victim.
United States State Department spokesman John Kirby said, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims. We condemn any violence against civilians, they’re completely unacceptable.”
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov also condemned the attack.
“On this second day of Ramadan and at the start of the Shabbat, I call on all sides to exercise the utmost restraint, to maintain calm and promptly bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor blasted Mladenov’s statement as “despicable,” saying only one side acted violently and adding that, in contrast, Israel was taking steps to help the Palestinians.
Prosor blamed the Palestinian Authority for “encouraging incitement and undermining the stability in the area.” He called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to condemn the “cold-blooded” attack, which he said was just one of a series of violent incidents executed by Palestinians in the West Bank.