Father of four murdered in Ariel terror attack
Rabbi Ben Gal, 29, is stabbed and later succumbs to wounds suffered in stabbing attack near entrance to West Bank city; Magen David Adom, IDF paramedics attempted to resuscitate him; IDF conducting widespread search for terrorist, 19-year-old Israeli Arab Abed al-Karim Adel Assi, who escaped after being hit by an IDF officer's vehicle; PM Netanyahu: 'Perpetrator will be brought to justice.'
Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal, 29, was murdered in a stabbing attack Monday afternoon near the entrance to the settlement of Ariel in the Samaria region of the West Bank.
Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedics, assisted by an IDF medical force, first treated the the victim, who suffered wounds to his upper body, and performed resuscitation on him. He was then taken to the Beilinson Hospital at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, where he was pronounced dead.
Ben Gal, from the Har Brakha settlement in the Samaria region, was an educator at a Bnei Akiva Yeshiva in Giv'at Shmuel. His funeral will take place Tuesday at 10am in his settlement.
He is survived by his wife, Miriam, and four children.
The terrorist, investigators found, is 19-year old Israeli-Arab resident of Jaffa Abed al-Karim Adel Assi, a son of an Israeli mother and Palestinian father from Nablus.
He arrived at the Ariel Junction bus stop Monday afternoon and, with no apparent hesitation, stabbed Ben Gal from behind.
After he was stabbed, Ben Gal ran to a bus that stopped at a station nearby while al-Karim gave chase. Reaching the bus, the rabbi knocked on its door for help before immediately collapsing.
The terrorist then fled the scene. An off duty IDF officer who witnessed the attack then chased the assailant in his car and rammed him.
Despite being hit, al-Karim was able to escape with the help of an unidentified driver who picked him up near the scene of the incident.
IDF forces are currently spreading out in the area in an effort to locate him.
The terrorist's backpack was found on the scene containing a change of clothes and his Israeli ID card. The bag also contained a comb, hair gel, a lighter and a charger.
Gaza terrorist group Hamas welcomed the attack. "The stabbing attack is proof that the Al-Quds intifada continues," a message from the group said.
Large numbers of IDF troops entered the village of Kifl Haris in their search of the terrorist, the Palestinians reported.
The attack took place at the Ariel Junction's bus stop, a place usually under the protection of IDF soldiers.
Al-Karim was in the past a member of the Shanti House, a non-profit organization helping at-risk youth.
A statement from the organization revealed that al-Karim stayed in several such shelters in his past. "He left the Shanti House after we forbade him to travel on a regular basis to Nablus because we were afraid of his being exploited by hostile elements," the organization said in the statement.
Ariel Dovkin, an 8th grade student of Ben Gal, said his class was "in shock" at the news of his murder.
"The counselor … informed us that Rabbi Ben Gal had been murdered. There was a moment of silence and then everyone started to cry. Later, psychologists from the municipality (of Giv'at Shmuel) came and spoke to us.
"His murder is a great loss for the Jewish people. He was a good educator and teacher and always helped everyone. An admirable figure."
'Only a matter of time until murderer is caught'
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his condolences to the victim's family. "IDF and Shin Bet forces are in pursuit of the terrorist or terrorists and we will bring them to justice," he added. "These are difficult moments, but are people come together during such times."
"I fully trust security forces, which are doing an outstanding job of protecting us," the prime minister concluded.
Netanyahu was joined by other ministers and MKs, who expressed their condolences and denounced the attack.
"It's only a matter of time, the security forces will apprehend the murderer," said Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan also addressed the murderous attack, saying the terrorist was "full of hatred and incitement."
"You have to think of his four children growing up without a father and his wife living alone. This is not an act of a partner for peace," he added, referring to the Palestinian Authority.
Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, cast the blame for the attack on the Palestinian leadership's "policy of incitement " and called on the UN Security Council to condemn the attack. "This abominable murder is a direct result of the policy of incitement and terror financing of the Palestinian leadership," he said in a statement.
"Instead of inviting (PA President Mahmoud Abbas) to the Security Council to spread lies and hate speech, the council must condemn this terror attack and demand that Abbas stops the incitement and the payments to the terrorists."
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said he "can no longer look in the eyes of bereaved families," lamenting the fact that two people were murdered in less than a month and in the same area.
"We respect and appreciate the IDF, but it is not enough to pursue terrorists," he stressed. "We have to deal with the terrorist infrastructure and bring back the checkpoints."
Elisha Ben Kimon, Yoav Zitun, Raanan Ben Zur and Rotem Elizera contributed to this report.