Monday, February 05, 2018

05-Feb-18: [UPDATED] The victim of today's Arab-on-Israeli stabbing barbarism, a teacher and a father of four young children, has died of his injuries

Tragedy in Ariel: The Ben Gal family, destroyed by today's
murderous terrorist attack [Image Source: Ynet]
Israeli society is having to confront another extreme-bigotry-driven murder today and the tragic burden which has landed on a young family ill-equipped to deal with its weight.

Today, Monday afternoon, just outside the entrance to the Israeli city of Ariel, at about 2:30 pm, an Israeli man, standing on the sidewalk at a bus stop that also serves as a hitch-hike point, became the victim of an unprovoked stabbing attack. 

The knifer, a Palestinian Arab whom the security camera captures crossing the road and approaching his unsuspecting target from behind, fled the scene after plunging the knife into the victim's chest several times. He the object of an ongoing manhunt as we write this.

We know now that the man who came under attack is Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, 29, a father of four young children who settled with his wife and family in the Israeli community of Har Bracha, a short distance from where the attack took place. He was given emergency care at the scene by a Magen David Adom ambulance team and army medics. Times of Israel reported that he was taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah but died of his wounds. He will be buried in Har Bracha tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

Israel National News says Rav Ben Gal was an educator who worked with 8th graders at the Bnei Akiva Yeshiva in Givat Shmuel, a Tel Aviv suburban community, and taught as well in the Har Bracha Yeshiva.

Ynet says this about the suspected murderer now being tracked down:
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... Despite being hit [by an Israeli motorist] 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 region 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... Large concentrations of IDF forces entered the village of Kifl Haris, according to Palestinian reports, in their search of the terrorist.
Kifl Haris is a Palestinian Arab village which, according to some Jewish traditions, is the site of the graves of the Biblical figures Joshua, Caleb and Joshua's father Nun.

According to Ynet, the Islamist terrorists of Hamas issued a message from Gaza welcoming today's murder and asserting that it "is proof that the Al-Quds intifada continues".

UPDATE Tuesday February 6, 2018 at 2:00 pm:
According to a Times of Israel report today, the terrorist attacker who stabbed to death Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal yesterday has been advised to
Today's funeral for Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal [Image Source]
turn himself in to security forces, his mother tells Israel’s Channel 10 television news. Abed al-Karim Assi, 19, is suspected of stabbing to death Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, 29, at the Ariel Junction in the northern West Bank. Assi holds Israeli citizenship and lives in Jaffa, defense officials said late Monday. He managed to evade capture following the attack, even after an IDF officer hit him with his car while in pursuit. Assi’s father lives in Nablus and his mother in Haifa. She tells Channel 10 she “hasn’t seen my son in a long time.” She says his actions “are unacceptable.” “What he did just ruined his life. He has no right to take a life,” she says.
Listening to his mother is good advice though probably hard for the stabber. Listening to Miriam, the mother of Itamar Ben-Gal's orphaned children, might be good advice too but in the current circumstances a lot harder for both sides.

UPDATE Wednesday February 7, 2018 at 9:30 am: There's a disturbing update report from Times of Israel -
The suspected terrorist behind the killing of a rabbi Monday was detained by soldiers in a confrontation at the scene a day before the attack and then released, the Ynet news site reported Tuesday night. According to the report 19-year-old Arab Israeli Abed al-Karim Assi arrived at the junction outside the settlement of Ariel on Sunday — a day before he is believed to have fatally stabbed 29-year-old Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal at the same spot — and swore at soldiers stationed there. The soldiers are said to have detained him and examined his identification, then allowed him to go on his way... The military said a preliminary investigation showed soldiers had acted appropriately in accordance with the suspect’s behavior. Israeli security forces were still searching for Assi on Tuesday night. In the evening clashes broke out in Nablus as troops searched the West Bank city... ["Ariel killer was briefly detained by soldiers a day before attack", today]
The pursuit of Abed al-Karim Assi who video cameras "allege" stabbed to death Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal Z"L at the entrance to Ariel on Monday goes on. A report from i24news this morning says a Palestinian Arab was shot dead and five others, perhaps more, are critically injured as the IDF continues to search for the stabber in Nablus/Shechem. Reporter Khaled Abu Toameh says (via Twitter) says the injuries tally stands at 47.

UPDATE Sunday March 18, 2018 at 9:30 am Times of Israel reports
Israeli forces on Sunday arrested a suspected terrorist who is believed to have stabbed to death Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal near Ariel in February, following an extensive manhunt, the Shin Bet security service said. On February 5, 19-year-old Abed al-Karim Assi, an Israeli citizen, is believed to have attacked Ben-Gal, 29, at a bus stop outside Ariel, a West Bank settlement. Assi fled the scene, leading security forces on a month-long manhunt that ended with his arrest in the predawn hours of Sunday in the West Bank city of Nablus, the Shin Bet said. The security service said he was found inside a house in the city. According to the Israel Defense Forces, Assi was injured during the early morning arrest raid and received treatment from army medics. The military would not elaborate on how he sustained his wounds... In addition to Assi, a number of people who were with him at the time of his arrest were also taken into custody, the service said...  Assi had been thought to have been hiding out in Nablus, where his father lives, since the attack. Before the attack he had used his Israeli citizenship to spend time on both sides of the Green Line, including with his mother, who lives in Haifa. He had received social service assistance from Israeli authorities, including at the Shanti Home in Tel Aviv for at-risk youth...
There's a video clip here of his being taken into Israeli custody:

He's alive and evidently in good shape. His victim's family - the young widow and her children - could be forgiven for wondering where the justice is in that.

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