JERUSALEM (JTA) — An axe-wielding Palestinian worker killed an Israeli boy and injured another in the West Bank.
The worker began attacking the boys, aged 13 and 7, as he ran with the axe through the community of Bat Ayin, located in the Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem, shortly after noon Thursday.
Shlomo Nativ, the teenager, died of his injuries. The younger victim, Yair Gamliel, was seriously injured and being treated for head injuries in Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital.
Yair’s father, Ofer, was one of three Bat Ayin residents jailed in 2002 for plotting to blow up a girls’ school in East Jerusalem. He refused to visit his son in the hospital accompanied by prison guards.
The assailant struggled with a passer-by and was shot by a Bat Ayin security guard before fleeing, Ha’aretz reported.
"It is usually safe to walk around here," a female resident of the community of 100 families told Israel’s Channel 2, her voice breaking as she said she knew the boys. "This is the first time that anything like this ever happened here,"
In fact, a Bat Ayin resident was stabbed to death in 2007 while walking near the settlement. There is no security fence around the community, apparently for ideological reasons.
Israeli security services were searching the area for the assailant and checking to see if he had any accomplices. The Israeli army made several arrests in the adjacent village of Safa, the daily Ha’aretz reported. Residents were asked to remain in their homes.
Both Islamic Jihad and the Martyrs of Imad Muginyeh claimed responsibility for the attack. Hamas called the attack a "natural reaction" to the "occupation," a spokesman said.
Government spokesman Mark Regev condemned the attack as a "senseless act of brutality against innocents."