American citizen killed in latest West Bank shooting amid escalating violence


This is a developing story.

(JTA) — The American citizen killed in a West Bank shooting on Monday has been identified as Elan Ganeles, a recent Columbia University graduate who grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Ganeles was shot while driving near the Palestinian city of Jericho in the eastern West Bank. His murder is the latest attack in an escalating wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Ganeles was raised in West Hartford, where his family belonged to Young Israel of West Hartford and he attended Modern Orthodox schools. At the Hebrew High School of New England, he was an honors student and volunteered with the local Jewish Family Services, according to an article published about him in 2014.

At the time, he said he was deferring enrollment at the University of Michigan, and enlistment in the U.S. military, to spend a year in Israel. That time in Israel stretched beyond a year, and he enlisted instead in the Israel Defense Forces. He then returned to the United States in 2018 to attend Columbia, where he graduated in 2022 with a degree in sustainable development and neuroscience, according to his LinkedIn account.

Ganeles’ funeral will take place in Israel and the family will return to Connecticut to sit shiva, according to an email sent to congregants from Young Israel of West Hartford. The email said Ganeles was “murdered today in a brutal act of terrorism in Israel.” The synagogue will be offering the services of grief counselors to the community.

On Monday, gunmen drove up to the Ganeles’ car and shot at him, critically injuring him, and also fired at other cars, according to Israeli reports. No other injuries were reported. According to the Israel Police, the gunmen abandoned their car and set it on fire.

The attack came one day after a Palestinian gunman killed two Israelis traveling through the northern West Bank Palestinian town of Huwara. Settlers later rioted in Huwara, burning houses and cars. At least one Palestinian was killed amid the riots.

In total, more than a dozen Israelis, most of them civilians, have been killed in Palestinian terror attacks since the start of 2023. During that same period, Israel has killed more than 60 Palestinians, including a number of civilians, in military raids on militant cells in the West Bank.

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