VIDEO – West Bank shooting attack: Meir Avshalom Hai, a 45-year-old resident of the West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron, was killed Thursday in a shooting attack on the road leading from his community to Einav.
Hai, who sustained head wounds, apparently lost control of the vehicle, which was found in a ditch at the side of the road. Magen David Adom emergency services rushed to the scene, but had no choice but to pronounce him dead at the scene. He is survived by seven children.
Paramedic Tzachi Cohen told Ynet: "We found the motorist in the vehicle…nothing could be done as result of the serious wound. We pronounced him dead at the scene."
Scene of the attack (Photo: Ido Erez)
Security forces were dispatched to the scene and were scouring the area for suspects. The troops set up roadblocks in the area in an effort to nab the shooters.
Judea and Samaria Brigade Commander Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Alon said the military was doing all it can to apprehend the shooter: "We believe this was a drive-by shooting and we're following every lead," he said.
According to Alon, it is unclear at this time whether the shooter acted alone or as part of a cell. The attack has yet to be claimed by any know terror group.
In wake of the attack, Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Masika criticized the government for not doing enough to ensure the safety of the settlers in the West Bank.
"Following a long period of calm, and despite our warnings, they opened the main checkpoint between Shavei Shomron and the West Bank city of Tulkarem. The government of Israel prefers to upkeep the lifestyle of Palestinian rather than that of its own citizens," said Masika following the attack.
The Yesha Council released a statement following the attack, saying it was the result of the government's leniency towards the Palestinians.
"This murderous attack in Samaria is a direct result of removing vital roadblocks across Judea and Samaria and relinquishing security to the ranks of those who have more often than none have sprouted terrorists. Just like in the past, gestures to Abu-Mazen are paid for in Jewish blood."
Several attacks and attempted attacks have been reported in Judea and Samaria recently. At the end of last month, a terrorist armed with an axe assaulted a man and a woman near a gas station. The two were lightly hurt in the attack. The terrorist was shot by a soldier in the area and sustained grave wounds.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Military Intelligence forces arrested several arson suspects after they torched a car north of the Nablus; and are exploring the possibility that the car was involved in the attack. The car's owner has been held for questioning.
A Palestinian source told Ynet that the Palestinian Authority turned the vehicle to Israeli security forces for further inspection.
Efrat Weiss, Raanan Ben-Zur, Hanan Greenberg and Ali Waked contributed to this report