The victims of the deadly terror attack in Elad were named early Friday as Yonatan Havakuk, 44, Boaz Gol, 49, and Oren Ben Yiftah, 35, all fathers who leave behind 16 orphans.
The three were slain at the closing of Israel's Independence Day when axe-wielding Palestinians entered the Ultra-Orthodox town and began to run amok, attacking random passersby.
Havakuk and Gol, both residents of Elad, both left behind five orphans each whereas Ben Yiftah, a resident of Lod, is survived by his six children.
Locals told Ynet that Havakuk was well known around town and described him as someone of always had a smile on his face.
Israeli security forces were waging a massive manhunt for the two suspects who remain at large. Footage from the scene of the attack shows the terrorists running down the street armed with axes, hitting a vehicle passing by.
The police have released the details of the suspects As’ad Alrafa’ani, 19, and Sabhi abu Shakir, 20, both from Rumana near the city of Jenin, which has re-emerged as a militant bastion in this latest spate of terrorist attacks — the worst Israel has seen in years. Several attackers have come from in or around Jenin, and Israeli forces have launched arrest raids that have ignited gunbattles there.
Doctors at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva are still fighting for the lives of two more victims of the attack. The two are a 38-year-old man and another in his 70s who remain in guarded condition after undergoing emergency operations throughout the night.
Another patient, a man in his 20s, is hospitalized at Sheba Medical Center in serious condition.
President Isaac Herzog called Elad Mayor Israel Porush to extend his condolences to the families and condemn the attack.
"I called to the mayor on this grim morning to console and strengthen him and his residents," he tweeted. "Three fathers were murdered last night with vicious cruelty by vile terrorists whom we'll hunt down and capture and pay them and their senders in kind. I sent a hug to the grieving families and the wounded.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid held security consultations with the ministers of defense, public security and the heads of the defense establishment. The political echelon decided to extend a general lockdown on the Palestinians in the West Bank until Sunday and will discuss the issue again at the end of the week. Israel imposes a lockdown on West Bank Palestinians each year around its Independence Day, which is prone to nationalistic-driven terror attacks on Israelis.
"Our enemies have embarked on a murderous campaign against Jews wherever they are," Bennett said after the consultations. "Their goal is to break our spirit - but they will fail. We will lay our hands on the terrorists and their accomplices, and they will pay the price. I convey my deepest condolences to the families of those killed."
Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the military to assist the police in searches after the assailants and close off the area in order to prevent them from crossing into the West Bank.
The attack comes just days after Hamas leader in Gaza Yahyah Sinwar called on Palestinians and Israeli Arabs to carry out attacks against Jews by any means, including axes.
"Our people in the Negev, the Triangle, the Galilee, Haifa, Jaffa, Acre, Jaffa and Lod — each one of you take out your guns. And whoever does not have a gun — take out a knife or an axe. If they want a religious war, they have crossed all red lines."
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, saying that "the killing of Palestinians and Israelis only further exacerbates the situation at a time when we are all begging to achieve stability and prevent escalation."
However, he warned Israel against using the attack as an excuse for retaliation against the Palestinian people and called for comprehensive and just peace which he said is the right and shortest path to provide security and stability to both peoples and the entire region.
The United States Department of State also issued a statement condemning the deadly attack.
"We vehemently condemn the terrorist attack in Elad, Israel, which killed at least three and wounded many others. This was a horrific attack targeting innocent men and women, and was particularly heinous coming as Israel celebrated its Independence Day," Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote.
"Our hearts are with the victims and loved ones of those killed, and we wish those injured a speedy recovery. We remain in close contact with our Israeli friends and partners and stand firmly with them in the face of this attack. May the memory of those who passed be a blessing."