Manhunt underway after deadly West Bank shooting; killed guard shielded colleague

Israeli security forces continue their hunt on Saturday morning for the two Palestinian gunmen who shot and killed an Israeli guard in a settlement in the West Bank.

Friday night’s shooting at Ariel’s entrance claimed the life of a security guard in his twenties.

The two gunmen, whose attack was captured by security cameras, fled.

The Israel Defense Forces said Saturday morning that the guard, whose name has not been released to publication, was killed when he shielded another guard at the gate, blocking access to the settlement.

The second guard was not injured in the attack.

“It was a very difficult attack and there has been a night of operational activity,” Brig said. Gene. Avi Blot. “We are going to the terrorists. There are many operations on the ground, including intelligence.”

Early on Saturday, Palestinian media reports claimed that a burned vehicle had been found in the area and that it could be the car used by the terrorists.

The attack was claimed by the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades, a coalition of armed groups affiliated with the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party.

“We take responsibility for the heroic operation in Ariel that resulted in the death of a Zionist officer. All these activities are a response to Israeli aggression in Jerusalem,” a masked man said in a video circulating on social media.

The terror group was also behind the deadly attack in Bnei Brak last month.

The terror group Hamas praised the shooting, saying it was a “heroic operation” and a “natural response to the crimes committed by the occupation and its settlers”.

Israeli security personnel at the scene of a shooting attack at the entrance to Ariel, in the West Bank, on April 30, 2022 (Flash90)

Surveillance camera footage of the scene of the Ariel attack showed a blue Suzuki vehicle driving to a guard post, where a person in the passenger seat opened fire.

The gunman and driver then both got out and continued firing at the sentry before driving away.

Magen David Adom’s ambulance service said his medics pronounced the man dead at the scene. The second guard, apparently protected by the killed man, was unharmed.

The gunmen apparently used makeshift Carlo submachine guns.

Ariel and other settlements in the area have issued a lockdown order over fears the gunmen would attack again.

Security forces blocked roads as large numbers of police and soldiers launched a massive manhunt for the gunmen. Israeli forces said special forces were participating in the search.

Also overnight, Palestinians reported that a man was killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank village of Azzun, near Qalqilya.

According to media reports, he was killed in fighting in the area.

Further details were not immediately available.

The attack and clashes came as tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have risen sharply in recent weeks against the backdrop of repeated terror attacks in Israeli cities that left 14 dead.

The escalation occurred during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan – often a period of high tensions in Israel and the West Bank.

The military has stepped up operations in the West Bank in an effort to stem the mounting violence. Subsequent raids led to clashes that left at least 25 Palestinians dead, many of whom took part in the fighting, while others appeared to be uninvolved civilians.

Emmanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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