A day of charity ended in tragedy when an 18-year-old American volunteer, Ezra Schwartz, was one of three people murdered on Thursday afternoon in a terrorist attack in the vicinity of the Alon Shvut junction in Gush Etzion.
An Uzi-wielding terrorist killed the three people, one of them Palestinian, and wounded several in a shooting attack at two scenes in Gush Etzion.
Schwartz was part of a group of Yeshiva volunteers from Bet Shemesh, who travelled to the area in order to hand out food to soldiers. The group was on its way back home before the attack took place.
Yaakov Don, 49, was also murdered in the attack. Don was a resident of Alon Shvut, an educator and a father of four.
A Palestinian man was also murdered by the terrorist during his shooting rampage. The man was later identified as Shadi Arafa, 40, a citizen of Hebron.
Schwartz came to Israel as part of a program in which young people come to Israel for nine months of volunteer work.
At the time of the shooting, the volunteers were visting the memorial established for the three Israeli teens who were kidnapped and killed before Operation Protective Edge last summer.
They later handed out food to soldiers stationed in Gush Etzion. The yeshiva staff contacted the young man's parents and informed them of his death.
Yuval Lasri, who overpowered the terrorist, said: "I stood in the traffic jam and heard gunfire. The terrorist rammed a car behind me. I got out of my car, pushed his gun away and threw him on the ground. I didn’t shoot at him because I wasn’t sure that he was the terrorist, but then I saw the gun next to him and understood that he was."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the attack: "The murderous terror has struck Gush Etzion and Tel Aviv. My heart is with the families of the murdered and I send my wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded.
"Whoever condemned the attacks in France needs to condemn the attacks in Israel. It's the same terror. Whoever does not do this is a hypocrite and blind," the prime minister concluded.
Thursday was the deadliest day since the start of the current terror wave in October, with five people having been murdered in two attacks.
The deadliest day before Thursday was five weeks ago, when two attacks in Jerusalem's Armon Hanatziv and Geula neighborhood killed four Israelis.
The shooting occurred two hours after a Palestinian terrorist went on a stabbing spree in Tel Aviv, killing two Israelis.