Funerals held for three people killed in Israeli Independence Day attack, police looking for suspects

Magen David Adom emergency services named them Oren Ben Yiftah, father of six; Jonathan Habakkuk, father of five; and Boaz Gol, father of five. All were in their 40s, as previously reported by the MDA.

Emergency services received a report of the attack at 8:36 p.m. local time (1:36 p.m. ET).

According to emergency services, three of the victims died at the scene. Four more men aged 23 to 60 were hospitalized.

The hospitals treating them said on Friday that the three were in a life-threatening condition.

On Friday, Israeli police named two men suspected of carrying out the attack, 19-year-old Asad Yousef Asad al-Rafai and 20-year-old Subhi Imad Subhi Abu Shakir, residents of Jenin province in the West Bank.

Police are searching for the two suspects using helicopters, roadblocks and checkpoints.

Photos from the scene on Thursday evening show several ambulances, including ambulances and motorcycles, arriving after the attack was reported.

“This is a very difficult event. When we arrived at the scene, we noticed that it was a difficult scene,” Israeli Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency response paramedic Alon Rizkan said on Thursday.

“Near the square in Ibn Gvirol, a 40-year-old man was lying next to the car with serious injuries to his body. We conducted a medical examination, but he was without signs of life, and we had to ascertain his death.

“I went down the stairs to a nearby park, we performed resuscitation operations on a 40-year-old man who was unconscious, and in the end we were forced to state his death,” the paramedic added.

“Dozens of meters away, another wounded man was lying in an unconscious state, also 40 years old with serious injuries, after resuscitation they pronounced him dead,” he said.

Elad, where the attack took place, is a quiet, small, predominantly religious town in central Israel near Ben Gurion International Airport.

Israeli security and rescue personnel have been working at the scene since Thursday's incident.

Calls for peace amid escalating violence

This attack was the latest in a series violent incidents which in recent weeks have put Israel and the Palestinian territories at a standstill.

CNN estimates that dozens of people have died in violence in Israel and the West Bank since March 22.

In a statement, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett condemned Thursday’s attack and offered his condolences to the affected families.

“Our enemies have launched a bloody campaign against the Jews, wherever they are. Their goal is to break our spirit, but they will fail. We will take the terrorists and their supporters into our own hands and make sure they pay the price,” Bennett. says in the statement.

Israel has confirmed that it will keep Gaza and the West Bank closed until at least the Sunday after the attack, extending the already existing closure for Israeli holidays.

The Israel Defense Forces have stated that Palestinians living in these territories will only be allowed to enter Israel with prior permission on a humanitarian basis, under special circumstances, or for medical reasons.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the violence on Thursday, his office said in a statement.

“The killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians only leads to a further deterioration of the situation at a time when we are all striving to achieve stability and prevent escalation,” Abbas said in a statement.

Abbas warned that Jewish settlers could not use the incident as an excuse “to carry out attacks and retaliate against our Palestinian people.”

He added that “a lasting, comprehensive and just peace is the shortest and best way to ensure security and stability for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples and the peoples of the region.”

Late Thursday, Palestinian militants in Gaza, Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the alleged attack but did not explicitly attribute it.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum linked the attack to clashes outside the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

Five people shot dead near Tel Aviv, the third attack in Israel in a week

“This is a brave and heroic act that is a natural response to the violations by the occupation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he told CNN, referring to the Israeli security presence in the complex.

This attack “sends a signal to the occupiers that all their crimes and violations will only come back to them,” he said, referring to Israel. “Our natural right for our people is to respond to the crimes of occupation, deter them and defend our rights. Today, the occupation is paying the bill for its violations.”

Islamic Jihad Politburo member Muhammad Hamid Abu Al-Hassan congratulated the attackers.

“The desecration by the occupying army and the settler gangs of the Al-Aqsa Mosque has crossed all red lines, and our people will continue to respond to this aggression,” he said, referring to the clashes that took place on the compound on Thursday.

Only Muslims are allowed to visit the holy site, called by the Jews the Temple Mount and the Haram al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary of Muslims, during the last 10 days of Ramadan each year. Groups of Israeli Jews began to arrive again on Thursday.

Grieving ultra-Orthodox Jews surround a man overwhelmed with grief after the attack.

Blinken condemns attack

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken denounced what he called a “terrorist attack,” saying in a statement that “it was especially disgusting when Israel was celebrating Independence Day.”

“We remain in close contact with our Israeli friends and partners and stand firmly by their side in the face of this attack,” he added.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price also said Thursday that the attack appears to be “the latest in a string of heinous terrorist attacks that have rocked Israel in recent weeks.”

“We saw them before this sacred period – the confluence of Easter, Pesach, Ramadan. We saw them before the summit in the Negev. in the strongest terms,” Price said.

“Our commitment to our Israeli partners, the security of Israel is unwavering, and we will provide any assistance that may be required in this case,” he added.

Jennifer Hansler and Jorge Engels of CNN contributed to the report.

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