US citizen shot dead in West Bank violence: US State Department

The US State Department has confirmed that an American citizen was shot dead in the West Bank on Monday amid ongoing unrest among Israelis and Palestinians in the region.

An Israeli-American man was killed when gunmen opened fire near the city of Jericho on the West Bank. Reutersreported that the killing was one of several shootings carried out by Palestinians along a highway near Jericho.

The Israeli military said suspected Palestinian attackers opened fire on an Israeli car near Jericho and hit the driver.

The Palestinian group has yet to claim responsibility for the attack.

The shootings came hours after Jewish settlers rampaged through the Palestinian village of Hwala on Sunday night, setting fire to homes and other buildings, damaging vehicles and attacking Palestinians. A 37-year-old Palestinian man was killed in the rampage and dozens more were injured.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the attack an “act of terror”.

“The United States is very concerned about the events of this weekend and the ongoing violence in Israel and the West Bank,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a news conference.

“As we said yesterday, we condemn the murder of two Israeli brothers near Nablus and the murder of an Israeli man near Jericho. We understand that he was also a US citizen. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and their loved ones.”

Victim identification

“We also condemn the mass and indiscriminate violence by settlers against Palestinian civilians after the killings,” added Price. “The attack killed one Palestinian man, injured more than 300 residents, four of whom were seriously injured, and set an estimated 30 Palestinian homes and vehicles on fire. Absolutely unacceptable and the United States expresses its deepest condolences to those affected by this violence.”

Separately, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides confirmed on Twitter that a US citizen had been killed in what he called “a terrorist attack in the West Bank tonight.”

“Prayers for his family,” Nides wrote.

Neither the ambassador nor the State Department released the identity of the Israeli-Americans killed. Age of Israel Identified as 27-year-old Elan Ganeles, an Israel Defense Forces veteran from West Hartford, Connecticut.

Emergency responders reportedly arrived near the scene where Ganeles was shot, near the Nevo military base, and found him in critical condition before taking him to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in Jerusalem. There he was later declared dead.

“The wounded was evacuated during ongoing resuscitation efforts at the hospital, but unfortunately staff had to declare him dead,” the hospital said in a statement to the Times of Israel. .

The Israeli consulate in San Francisco also identified the victim as Gunelles on Twitter, saying he was a recent graduate of Columbia University in New York.

Sunday night’s attack on Huwala came shortly after the murder of two Israeli brothers, Harel Yanib, 21, and Yager Yanib, 19, by Palestinian gunmen in the Jewish settlement of Hal Bracha. has occurred.

Authorities said the shooter fled the scene shortly after the shooting.

A large group of Israelis then set fire, throwing stones and setting dozens of cars and buildings on fire along the Hawala main road, used by both Palestinians and Israeli settlers. rice field.

37-year-old Palestinian man, Identified Sammy Hamdallah Mahmoud Aktash was allegedly shot dead by Israeli fire during the incident, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Israeli president, prime minister condemn attack

In a statement, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the attack on Hawala “an act of terror carried out by Israeli settlers under the protection of Israeli occupying forces.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged Israeli settlers to “keep the law out of their hands.” Israeli President Isaac Herzog added: “Violence against innocent people is not our way of doing things.”

At a press conference on Sunday, Price said the US appreciated Netanyahu and Herzog’s statements calling for “an end to this vigilante violence.”

“In addition to compensation for lost homes and property, the Israeli government expects to ensure full accountability and legal prosecution of those responsible for these attacks,” Price said. “Accountability and justice should be pursued with equal rigor in all cases of extremist violence, and equal resources should be provided to prevent such attacks and bring those responsible to justice. I have.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.