One Israeli was killed and two others were wounded in a shooting attack Thursday near the illegal West Bank outpost of Homesh.
The group was fired upon as they were leaving the outpost and heading to the nearby settlement of Shavei Shomron. Officials said the attack was probably a planned ambush, perpetrated by more than one person.
The victim, named as 22-year-old Yehuda Dimantman, succumbed to gunshot wounds while being rushed to hospital, Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency services said. The two wounded Israelis had been struck by shards of glass and were lightly wounded, MDA added.
Dimantman, a married father-of-one, was a resident of Shavei Shomron and a student at the yeshiva in Homesh.
Large numbers of IDF troops were called to the scene, setting up roadblocks in the area in an apparent effort to catch the shooters. Shin Bet has also reportedly joined the search efforts.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was updated on the incident, his office said.
"Together with all the people of Israel, I send heartfelt condolences to the family of the murdered in the deadly attack that took place tonight, and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded," he said on Twitter. "Security forces will soon get their hands on the terrorists. We will come to terms with them."
Defense Minister Benny Gantz expressed his condolences and said Israeli security forces "will get their hands on the terrorists."
Hamas praised the deadly attack, although it did not immediately take responsibility. "Hamas blesses this heroic operation in Nablus against the occupation forces and the murderous settlers," said Hamas spokesperson Hazim Qasim.
"This operation proves yet again that our heroic people will continue their struggle until they expel the occupier.
Homesh was one of four West Bank settlements evacuated as part of Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Jewish settlers from nearby settlements still visit the hilltop to study and pray there.
The shooting followed what appears to be an uptick in terror attacks carried out by lone wolf attackers over the past few weeks, causing concerns for security officials.
Last week, an Israeli woman was stabbed and lightly wounded in front of her children while taking them to school in the tense Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
The suspect, a Palestinian female minor, fled the scene and was later arrested inside a nearby school after a manhunt.
That stabbing followed a car-ramming attack at a West Bank checkpoint less than a week before that, which resulted in serious wounds to an Israeli security guard.
The 16-year old Palestinian who carried out the attack was shot and later died in the hospital.
At the same time, the northern West Bank has seen a sharp jump in settler violence against Palestinians in recent months.
In mid-November, Jewish settlers attacked a group of Palestinian farmers with pepper spray and clubs in the farmland near Homesh, wounding four people. There also has been a rise in settler vandalism of Palestinian property.
First published: 20:06, 12.16.21